While Barry Middleton will look at England continuing its dream run, Tobias Hauke will be aiming at setting records straight and informing everyone that Germany have arrived
Bhubaneswar, 10 December 2014: Excitement ascends in the ‘City of Temples’ Bhubaneswar, as the 8-nations tournament – the Hero Men’s Champions Trophy 2014, enters into the quarter final stage. The turf of Kalinga Stadium awaits another thriller as the Pool A toppers England and Germany, who finished at the bottom of pool B, are ready to take on each other in the knock-out stage slated to be played on Thursday, 11 December 2014. The all important match will decide who will be booking his berth in the semi-finals.
Going by the history, both teams met in the 2012 Champions Trophy where England had toppled Germany 4-1 in the pool phase. England continued its dominance over the German team when they yet again brought down Germany 2-1 in the Hero World Hockey League – Final, played in January 2014. If the last five head-on is taken into consideration between both the teams, England and Germany have won two games each and drawn one so there is not much to choose. But then one can even not forget that on any given day the best team wins and both teams will still be looking at avenging the loses of the past.
With a brilliant side brimming with talent, England have enjoyed a very successful tournament to this point. The young Samuel Ward has been performing exceptionally, scoring two goals in his debut match opposite Australia and later adding one more in the next game against Pakistan. His efforts have been shored up by an outstanding play from the very experienced Alastair Brogdon. Also with the crowd chanting Ashley in all of England’s matches, clearly showcasing the local support that the team is enjoying, it will be interesting to see how well the team copes with the support and their form that they have maintained in the last three outings here at Bhubaneswar.
On the contrary, featuring seven of last December’s Junior World Cup winning side, Germany also has a bright team in the tournament showcasing the faith that the coach has on the young lads. Led by Tobias Hauke, who was named as the men’s Player of the Year for 2013, Germany is a perfectly combined side of experienced and young players. In the ongoing championship, Florian Fuchs has been showcasing a good game of hockey, scoring both the goals for Germany in the tournament. With so much expertise and capacity to demonstrate, the match between the two is one of the most anticipated games of the tourney.
Thrilled on the pool-top finish and the impending quarter finals, England Captain Barry Middleton said, “The team is high on motivation and it’s a good feeling to have topped the group. But we are not taking this lightly, as tomorrow it will be a all new game and it becomes all the more important that we do not lose focus. Germany is a strong team and they will be tough opponents. We are working on our strategies, watching the videos and also working on areas where we need more coordination.”
Speaking on the knock out game against Germany, England Coach Bobby Crutchley said, “Team is striving hard to give our best shot in the competition; today we were working on areas where we are lacking. We have successfully started executing our strategies on the field and this is evident in our last three matches. We will aim to continue this form against Germany and keep our spirits alive. The focus is the semi-final berth for now; after we reach that stage then we sit and strategize for the next phase.”
Ready to take on England, Germany Captain Tobias Hauke said, “We are practicing hard to win the match against England. We cannot forget that they are in a good form in this tournament and are the Pool toppers in their group and hence cannot be taken lightly. We are focusing on our strategy, working on our defence and trying out new variations along with team combinations. Everybody in the team is fit and in a good frame of mind to go for the kill tomorrow.”
Making a statement on the upcoming clash against England, Germany Head Coach Markus Weise said, “The match tomorrow is very important as it decides our fate in the tournament. We are analyzing ourselves through the videos of the last few games and are working on the areas that will help in better team coordination on the field. The target is to of course win and go to the next phase.”
The match between England and Germany will be played on 11 December 2014 at 1715 IST at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.