Game: Wednesday August 1-Live Foxtel 6.07AM (AEST) and Channel Nine
AUSTRALIA V GERMANY
Pool B: Australia, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, USA, Argentina
Players to watch:
Australia: Toni Cronk(Goal keeper), Georgia Nanscawen, Jodie Schulz
Germany: Natascha Keller, Fanny Rinne, Julia Muller
After a disappointing start to their Olympic campaign, the Hockeyroos life doesn’t get any easier with their next assignment Germany. The Germans are ranked third in the world and have something to prove, after finishing fourth at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Germany has the belief it can once again win gold and repeat its 2004 Athens Games triumph.
They are led by a true champion, in 35 years old Natascha Keller, who has played over 400 internationals (Indoor and outdoor) and scored an intimidating 203 goals. At this, her fifth Olympics, Keller was named her country’s flag bearer and with the promise of retirement after the London Games, Australia will have to play above itself to conquer this hurdle. But the Hockeyroos are a champion team and were unlucky to be defeated 1-0 by New Zealand. Moments that never went their way could have easily secured a different result.
Australian young gun Georgia Nanscawen looked dangerous in attack in the opening match against the Kiwis and was unlucky not to find the back of the net. Hockeyroos goal keeper Toni Cronk kept Australia in its first match and she will need to produce another top performance.
Drag flick specialist Jodie Schulz did not get an opportunity against the Blacksticks, as the Queenslander was off the field when Australia forced their only penalty corner for the game. Schulz becomes very important in this match-up, particularly as short corners can be a weakness in the German’s game. With no world-class drag flicker, Germany opts to use variations to convert, as its first shot on goal is not its strongest weapon.
In field play, Australia will also need to watch four-time Olympian Fanny Rinne, who has plenty to play for, as she is likely to retire alongside Keller after the Games. Against New Zealand, Australia was outplayed in midfield and that will be an area Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens would have focused on coming into this match.
One advantage for Australia is that the Germans are known to get off to slow starts, conceding goals early, so the Hockeyroos attack will need to force short corners from the outset and give Schulz a chance to make an impact.
Hockey Australia Press Release