FIH Hockey World League Final 2017: It's make or break for Argentina and Germany
As India and Australia have booked their tickets to the semi-finals, the hockey lovers are now looking forward to the next leg of the quarter-finals of the FIH Hockey World League Final 2017, to be held at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on Thursday. England, Argentina, Germany, and Netherlands will be vying for the final two spots available.
For Argentina and Germany, however, this is the time to make or break in this tournament. While Germany have still managed to save their face somehow by winning against European minnows England and Asian powerhouse India, they were relatively unimpressive in their game against Australia, which ended in a 2-2 draw. They are now up against Netherlands, who have a poor record against the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champions.
The last time they had met in a major tournament, it was at the Rio Olympics in 2016, where Germany defeated Netherlands 4-3 on penalties to win the bronze medal. So, if Germany want to make it count, they need to pull out all stops against the Dutch boys to book a place in the semi-finals against Australia.
On the other hand, it is a do-or-die moment for the Olympic champions, Argentina, who have been unimpressive throughout the tournament. After losing to Belgium with a narrow margin, Argentina salvaged a draw against Netherlands, only to lose surprisingly to Spain, the lowest ranked team of the tournament.
They need to prove that their gold medal at the Rio Olympics was not a mere fluke, and given their record against their quarter-final opponents, England, it shouldn't be a difficult task as well. In the last edition of the same tournament, Argentina had defeated England by 4-2 to gain the fifth position, though their last meetings at the 2017 FIH Hockey World League Semi-finals had ended in a draw.
Here is the schedule for today's quarter-finals:-
England vs Argentina - 17:15 IST
Germany vs Netherlands - 19:30 IST