Hockey women ready for biggest test
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 7:09a.m.
Watch the video for Firstline's interview with the Black Sticks
By Alastair Bull
It's been so far, so good for the New Zealand women's hockey team, but their medal credentials are about to get their biggest test.
The women's Black Sticks are a perfect two from two after wins over Australia and South Africa and are the only team in their pool of six with an unblemished record.
The top two in each group progress to the semi-finals.
They play world No.2 Argentina in their third game on Thursday and while points may not be essential for them to progress, anything from the game will give them confidence in their quest for a medal.
"They've got some very skilful players so we're going to have to be on our game and stick tight defensively," captain Kayla Sharland says.
"We've got the speed, we can get in behind them and we have to make sure we convert our chances there."
Black Sticks coach Mark Hager says his side will take confidence into the match especially after the United States managed to upset the South Americans 1-0.
"I think the last time we played them was in Argentina in front of 15,000 Argentinians and we drew 2-2. We had a 2-0 lead and blew that, so hopefully that experience has helped this crew.
"We have a match plan and if we're disciplined and stick to that then I think we've got a chance."
Hager said he wanted the team to have at least four points after two games and being on six had put the team where they needed to be.
"Six points is great but we'd like to have nine possibly after four games," Hager said. "If we get to that it would mean going into the last game against Germany that we might be playing for a semi-final spot."
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