Photo: Simon Watts BWMedia Photography
Olivia Merry and the Vantage Black Sticks celebrate the winning goal against Argentina, in last years Sentinel Homes Hockey World League quarter final match, in Auckland.
The Vantage Black Sticks Women believe they can win when it matters against Argentina in tomorrow's do or die crossover match at the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup, in London.
Despite wearing the tag of underdogs against the number 3 team in the world leading Kiwis goalscorer in the tournament so far striker Olivia Merry believes there’s every chance of victory.
“I guess they are definitely going in as favourites but we have beaten them at majors before so I guess that gives us confidence.”
New Zealand ran out winners in the Quarter-Finals of the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Finals against the South Americans in Auckland last November.
Sean Dancer, Assistant Coach of the Vantage Black Sticks Women said: “Argentina are a very good team but we do play them a lot and we do feel comfortable being able to play them especially in a crunch game, in the World League last year we were certainly the underdogs going into the game but we were good enough to get up.”
“We know on our day we can beat Argentina.”
New Zealand will have to lift its game if it's to repeat its victory at the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League in 2017, despite some excellent passages of play the Kiwis have struggled to get into top gear so far at this World Cup. Defeat to Japan and a draw with Australia leaving the team third in Pool D. Olivia Merry however feels a big result isn’t far away.
“We haven't put out a full 60 minute performance yet, we’ve seen patches of it, we managed to go all the way at the Commonwealth Games so it’s about putting a full 60 minute performance together and I think this team is capable of doing it so we go into the game with full confidence.”
The game is likely to throw up some key head-to-head battles and with the teams having met each other no fewer than 7 times in the past 9 months these players know each other well.
“Their goalkeeper is very skillful and she’s been around for a number of years so it’s about being smart around her, they have a few key defenders like Barrionuevo and Gomes at the back and they have very skilful strikers up front like Granatto and Merino who were world junior player of the year and world player of the year.” Said Merry.
The Vantage Black Sticks Women will also need their star players to shine, assistant coach Sean Dancer says the big match-ups will be vital.
“In the midfield Stacey Michelsen and Anita McLaren will need to eliminate and get through their midfielders and their defense, they do have a number of very good strikers who can use their skills and score a goal though so defensively we need to pay attention to those guys so that’ll be an important part.”
You can watch New Zealand take on Argentina at 7:15am on Sky Sports on Tuesday 31st July.
CLICK HERE to check out the Vantage Black Sticks FACEBOOK page and hear from the players what it means to them to play at this Women's Hockey World Cup 2018.
TAB odds for games at the World Cup are available at www.tab.co.nz along with a special sign up option if you do not have a TAB account. Simply download the TAB app, set up a new account, deposit $20 using the promo code 'HOCKEY' and TAB will boost your account with a further $20 as well as give $20 to Hockey New Zealand. Or go to the special promotion page to register!