Bhubaneswar, Dec 10:
In-form England will be aiming to maintain their momentum when they take on Germany in the first quarter-final of the hockey Champions Trophy at the Kalinga Stadium here Thursday.
England are very much in form, having won two of their three matches, staying unbeaten and collecting seven points on their way to topping Pool A ahead of Belgium, Australia and Pakistan.
Germany, on the other hand, have an unimpressive build-up to the match, losing two out of their three Pool B matches to collect just three points and finish bottom of the group also involving the Netherlands, Argentina and India.
In the last five encounters between them, both teams won twice but England will still enjoy a psychological edge, having won their their recent matches, 4-1 in the 2012 Champions trophy and 2-1 in the World Hockey League final in January this year.
Germany will aim for revenge but will be wary of England’s young forward Samuel Ward who is in exceptional form. He scored two goals in his debut match opposite Australia and another against Pakistan. His efforts have been shored up by an outstanding play from the very experienced Alastair Brogdon.
Germany have brought an inexperienced side to the tournament, featuring seven players of the 2013 Junior World Cup winning side. But they have an experienced leader in Tobias Hauke, the last year’s men’s Player of the Year, and a lot will be expected of him.
“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,” Barry Middleton, England captain said Wednesday in a release.
“Germany are 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.” (IANS)