The Australian men’s hockey team has received a tough draw for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The men in green and gold have been placed into a pool which contains, South Africa, Spain, Argentina, Great Britain and Pakistan – The toughest matches will be against Spain and Great Britain.
The Kookaburras will be looking to get the jump on their rivals, when they play hockey minnows South Africa in there first match of their campaign. In a group where goal difference will more than likely separate the top two in the pool, it is important that the Aussies win and win well. With the likes of Jamie Dwyer, Matthew Ghodes and Eddie Ockeden playing for the green and gold, this match could get really ugly for South Africa.
Game two pits the Kookaburras up against an old foe in Spain. This match is a replay of last year’s Champions Trophy final which was held in New Zealand, in which the green and gold broke Spanish hearts by wining 1-0.Once again I suspect this game to be a tough and at times a quite physical affair. The main threat to the men in green and gold will be the two talismans for Spain in Pol Amat and David Alegre. If the Kookaburras control theses two great players I suspect the Aussies to win a very close game.
Game three against Argentina, I suspect will be a near carbon copy of there first match against South Africa. This match may also serve as a chance for Kookaburras coach Rick Charlesworth to rest some players. This match is nearly as good as any chance to do this as the pointy end of the competition is about to really heat up.
The next match is really the pool’s showpiece match, as the mighty Kookaburras go up against arch-rivals Great Brittian. In the Brit’s own backyard, the key factor in this match is that British play-maker Simon Mantell will be absent from the competition with a broken foot, which he picked up at the recent Olympic test event. The British also have many other dangerous players in their side with the likes of goal keeper Alex Fair and key defender James Tindall. If these two are on their game I think this one may be to close to call.
The kookaburras last game in the group is against the somewhat fiery and unpredictable side in Pakistan. This match is going to be a make or break game for Pakistan as they will more than likely be looking for a win to continue on their way to be in contention for a medal as only the top four will progress.
Image courtesy of SMH