Argentina are the most successful team to have contested the Champions Trophy in the past decade. They have won the title in five of the past six editions, including an emotional victory in 2014 in what was to be Luciana Aymar’s last game for Las Leonas.
Currently, Australia, Netherlands and Argentina have all won the trophy six times apiece and, in an Olympic year, all three will be hoping to stamp their mark by winning this event, and in doing so, set down a challenge for Rio 2016.
Carla Rebecchi is a superstar forward for Argentina and, after Aymar’s retirement, she has been captaining the side, most notably to Hockey World League success in Rosario, Argentina last year. She has her eye on two big trophies this year: “Things are going really well with training and test matches. I would like to win the title again at the Champions Trophy and, of course, to win an Olympic medal, gold if possible. It would be a dream come true.
“We started our preparation for Rio on January 25th. We are training a lot, we played six test matches against New Zealand in February and we just played in Europe - we played two tests against Belgium and three against Germany.”
Rebecchi says the team has altered little from the squad that won the Hockey World League title. It is a squad that has been building since the last Olympics, with some of the older members retiring and some “really very good” young players coming into the squad. A disappointing hockey World League Semi-Final in Valencia, Spain seemed to provide the impetus that Las Leonas needed to start firing again and, by last December’s Argentina Hockey World League Final, the squad looked worthy of its ranking as number two in the world.
“Our biggest challenge in London, and in Rio, will be the top seeds – Netherlands, Australia. But New Zealand are also always very tough and, in London particularly, Great Britain will be a big threat.”
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