Courtesy of it featuring the host nation,the India-Argentina match is scheduled for primetime telecast. The match of the day though is undoubtedly the quarterfinal clash between Germany and Australia. The former are defending champions but face a stern test against the 2001 winners on Thursday if they hope to repeat their feat. The two teams previously met in the semifinals of the 2009 Junior World Cup,with Germany edging 3-2 in extra time.
While Australia advanced to the quarterfinal with an all win record,the Germans were unexpectedly bumped to second spot in their group after losing 3-1 in their opening game,against Belgium. At a practice session on Wednesday ahead of the encounter,Australias coach Paul Gaudoin admitted the match would be a tough one.
Its a happy moment for the boys to have entered the quarterfinals but we realise that tomorrows game against Germany is the decisive match and will decide our future in the tournament. Both teams will fight hard tomorrow to win and I hope we play better hockey and enter the next level.
But while Germany appear to have the poorer record going into the clash,they have improved steadily since the loss in the opener. They pushed the pace relentlessly against Pakistan to finish 6-1 winners and almost took it easy with another 6-0 win against Egypt. Christopher Ruhr is second on the goal scorers list with five including,perhaps,the effort of the tournament against Pakistan.
The European side have dominated ball possession and been tight defensively,allowing few chances. Even their solitary loss was a case of Belgian strikers making the most of limited opportunities.
Australia meanwhile,after a 5-2 triumph against Argentina,were less than impressive against Spain and France with 2-0 wins in both matches,all goals coming in the second half. The Australian squad attacks relentlessly but if unable to open their account quickly,tend to fall apart in the midfield. Robert Bell has been dogged in the defense but mistakes have occurred nevertheless. There were a number of lose passes and unforced errors in the game in the game against Spain and early in the match against France. While they were not punished for them,Germany are unlikely to be as forgiving.
In other quarterfinals,European Champions Belgium play France,Netherlands take on New Zealand and in a clash of styles,a defensive Korea will play an attacking Malaysia.