Britain look to settle score with Argentina in Olympic semi
Britain women’s hockey team cannot wait for their London 2012 semi-final clash with Argentina on Wednesday with Helen Richardson admitting they have a few old scores to settle.
Despite losing their final group game 2-1 to the Netherlands, Team GB are hoping that a clash against the South Americans on home soil – with a sure-to-be partisan crowd behind them – will spur them on to a place in the Olympic final.
Great Britain may have won their last two encounters against the Argentineans but Richardson says they are still smarting from a 1-0 defeat in the Champions Trophy final in February.
“There’s no ill-feeling towards the Argentineans and we’re just glad we’ve got a chance to put right the Champions Trophy result,” she said.
“It’s going to be brilliant because they’ve got Luciana Aymar in their team, who’s one of, if not the best player in the world.
“To have the chance to go out there and play Argentina in front of 16,000 fans – we’re really looking forward to it and we want to get out there.
“We’ll have to play very well to beat them as it’s the semi-final of the Olympic Games, and we will have to play better than we did against the Netherlands.
“We got the game plan and the players to do it and having the backing of the crowd as well would be amazing.”
Captain Kate Walsh has played in the last two games despite needing emergency surgery after being hit by a stick and suffering a fractured jaw in the opening pool game against Japan.
But Richardson does not think that the Argentineans will single her out for any special treatment
“I don’t think the Argentine’s will target Kate. Hockey can be a rough game at times and they will be putting everything on the line like we will be,” she added
“Nobody will want to come off that pitch losing and I know we’ll be doing everything we can to win it.”
The success of the women’s team at London 2012 has most definitely raised the profile of the sport even further and Richardson’s teammate Georgie Twigg revealed the girls had picked up some new fans within the Olympic Village.
“The whole buzz around the Olympic Village is fantastic – especially around Team GB. It’s a real feeling of one team and it’s so nice that everyone takes an interest in what you’re doing, like the other day when Sir Chris Hoy wished us good luck for the Holland game,” she said.
“We all went and had a photo with Mo Farah on the day he won the gold. Everyone wants to do well and that makes a buzz around the Village. In the dining hall, you’re picking out people like Michael Phelps and it’s fantastic to be part of it.”