As the players take a well earned rest day today following the end of the Pool Games, the quarter final line up has been announced by the FIH. The only European head-to-head will be England v Germany. See the full line-up below.
The four Hero Champions Trophy quarter-finals are ready to roll in Bhubaneswar with a series of fascinating match-ups between the giants of the game. Here, we give the key facts and figures on each of the runners and riders and how they have fared against their next opponent in the Champions Trophy in the past.
Netherlands v Pakistan (11.30 hrs)
The Netherlands against Pakistan is one of the classic Champions Trophy contests with the nations meeting a massive 34 times. The Dutch have held a clear advantage in recent times with Pakistan not beating them in their last 12 games, dating back to 1998. Indeed, the last time the Netherlands missed out on the top four was in 1986 but Pakistan enjoy knock-out hockey and won their quarter-final against Germany in 2012 in Melbourne en route to a bronze medal.
The Dutch topped Pool B with wins over Argentina and Germany but were undone 3-2 by hosts India. Pakistan are looking for their first win of the competition after losses to England, Belgium and Australia. The Netherlands’ ace drag-flicker Mink van der Weerden knows the opponents reasonably well. He plays his club hockey with Rashid Mehmood and Muhammad Rizwan Senior at Oranje Zwart and describes them both as “seriously skillful”.
Rizwan Senior’s focus is “We must win in the quarter-finals; there is no other option.” Dutch coach Max Caldas’ echoes his sentiments, saying “a quarter-final is do or die.”
Argentina v Australia (13.45 hrs)
Champions Trophy experts Australia are going for a sixth successive win in the competition and have never lost to Argentina in the competition in their four previous meetings.
But World Cup bronze medalists Argentina are in the mood for breaking records as they showed with their 3-0 win over Germany; this was their biggest ever win in the Champions Trophy and they would dearly love to get into the final for the first time. Their counter-attacking style yielded great benefits in wins over India and the Germans with Joaquim Menini, Matias Paredes, Agustin Mazilli and Lucas Vila all shining.
The last time world champions Australia missed out on the top four, however, was in 2002 so it will be a huge effort for Los Leones. The Australians did struggle for consistency in their 4-4 draw with Belgium and 3-1 loss to England. But Chris Ciriello said “a greater focus on defence” helped underpin a 3-0 win over Pakistan and show their attacking intentions.
England v Germany (17.15 hrs)
For England and Germany, it is a classic European battle. The former have impressed so far as the tournament’s top scorers so far with 12 goals in three outings. Newcomer Sam Ward has scored three of them from open play despite only receiveing his call up seven days before the tournament’s start.
They beat Germany the last time the two sides met in the Champions Trophy, a 4-1 success in Melbourne which was England’s first success in this fixture. Germany, meanwhile, have not made the top four since 2010 and captain Tobias Hauke says that, after a slow start to the competition, his team must produce a big performance. The Olympic champions have seven Junior World Cup winners from 2013 in their squad, starting off with a narrow 1-0 win over India following defeats to Netherlands (1-4) and Argentina (0-3).
“We have to win on Thursday,” he said. “Otherwise the second half of this tournament will be quite tough. We had three games to find ourselves and prepare for the quarter-final but what happens on Thursday is what counts.”
England coach Bobby Crutchley, meanwhile, says his side is feeling good after an unbeaten group phase with wins over Pakistan and Australia and a draw with Belgium. “I am really pleased with how we did in the group. As we know, in this format, it is now playing your best hockey in the knock-out phase and that’s our challenge.”
Belgium v India (19.30)
The two sides have met only once previously in the Champions Trophy, India winning 1-0 in the quarter-finals in Melbourne in 2012 – the first time this format has been used for the competition.
Belgium bounced back to finish fifth last time while India ended a place ahead in fourth. And the hosts will be gunning to claim a medal for the first since the bronze they landed all the way back in 1982. Their 3-2 win over the Netherlands on Tuesday evening in front of a packed house at the Kalinga Stadium has given the team real confidence – a game coach Roelant Oltmans said “nobody expected us to win”. This put India third in Pool B ahead of Germany.
He did add that his side “need to rectify some mistakes and need to stop conceding goals after scoring one” if they are to test the effervescent Belgians. With the trickery of Manpreet Singh and Akashdeep Singh, allied to the pace of SV Sunil, they have plenty of threats going forward while goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has been in immaculate form between the posts.
For unbeaten Belgium, finishing second in Pool A, Vincent Vanasch has also been in top form in goal while they showed immense fighting spirit to come back from 3-0 down to draw with Australia 4-4 in their group.
Broadcasters that will be showing matches live on television.
All AUS matches
SUPERSPORT – Africa
Germany – Sport 1
GER matches (depending on GER progress)
All NED matches – not always live
Belgium – Telenet, VRT and VOO (French)
All BEL matches + semis and final
UK – BSKYB
All ENG matches
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Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: courtesy of Koen Suyk (C)