With the quarter finals done and dusted, the eight teams contesting the 21st Champions Trophy have a day of preparation before they enter the arena for the last two days of competition.
All eight teams in Mendoza still have all to play for. Germany, Japan, England and China will all be wanting to avoid a bottom-place finish and the 5th-8th play-offs will be hotly contested.
But for the legions of fans pouring into the Estadio Mendicino on Saturday, the main event will be the much anticipated clash between the current holders of the trophy, Argentina, and the world champions, the Netherlands.
“We are pleased so far with our performance,” said captain of Las Leonas, Carla Rebecchi, “but now we have to be effective against the world champions.”
Certainly, the Netherlands will need to step up a gear if they are to continue their winning ways. Maartje Paumen said the team always enjoys playing against Argentina and, for the Dutch captain, the crowds are not a distracting feature. “We love to play in front of the Argentine fans, they are so passionate and know the game,” she said. For those spectators who have witnessed four below-par performances by the Netherlands, coach Sjoerd Marijne had this reassurance: “We didn’t score many goals in the opening matches at the Hague, and that didn’t turn out to be a problem.”
In the other semi final, New Zealand will be hoping to come out of the starting blocks with the same energy and work rate as they did in their quarter final clash with England. In Australia however, they face the ultimate quick-off-the-mark team, as the Hockeyroos proved when they took a 3-0 lead over Japan in the first 15 minutes.
“We always want to beat Australia,” said Rose Keddell, “And we feel we are getting stronger and stronger.”
With the temperatures expected to soar into the high thirties on Saturday, the heat will be a factor, although Anna Flanagan says that coping with the high temperatures should not cause the Hockeyroos a problem. “Of all the teams here, we are the ones who should be able to cope with the heat,” she said.
The matches are as follows (all times are local time):
11:30 England vs Japan
14:00 Germany vs China
16:30 New Zealand vs Australia
19:00 Netherlands vs Argentina
All the matches are available across a variety of platforms. Here is the comprehensive list of how you can keep up with the action.
Broadcasters who will be showing matches live on television.
SKY – NZ – All New Zealand games
ABC – Australia – All AUS games
Astro-Arena – Malaysia – All matches
TEN Sports – India (Final only)
Supersport – Africa – All matches
Sport 1 – Germany – German pool matches and quarter/ final. Coverage from that point will then depend on the German team’s progress in the competition.
NOS – Netherlands – All Netherlands matches and final (not always live)
BSKYB – UK – All matches
C7 – Argentina – All Argentina matches
Television coverage will vary from country to country, but for any games that are not shown live on television, there are many other ways you can stay in tune with the action on the pitch.
Full coverage of the events will be available via www.fih.ch with live streaming of the matches available in most territories.
The FIH You Tube channel will be active throughout the events, with match highlights and much more being posted as soon as they become available. To visit our You Tube channel, click the link below:
FIH will provide comprehensive coverage of the event via our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Twitter: twitter.com/fih_hockey #BestOfTheBest #CT2014
Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne with some wise words (Grant Treeby (c) )