Preview – Women’s Semi-Finals: ARG-AUS | NED-GER

Thursday 27 June is women’s semi-finals day at the FIH Pro League Grand Final, with two potentially thrilling matches between the four highest finishers in the regular FIH Pro League season kickstarting four days of top-class hockey action at Amsterdam’s Wagener Stadium.

Two-time world champions Argentina (FIH World Ranking: 4) face triple Olympic champions Australia (WR:3) at 1715 CEST (UTC/GMT+2) before reigning world champions and FIH Pro League table toppers the Netherlands (WR:1) play Germany (WR:5), bronze medallists from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, at 2000. The winners of the women’s semi-finals will meet in the title match on Saturday 29 June, with the losing teams playing in the 3-4 play-off.

Information about and quotes from the teams taking part in the semi-finals can be found below, with a complete list of fixtures for the four-day showpiece available here.

Argentina vs Australia (2nd vs 3rd FIH Pro League) 

Previous FIH Pro League meetings
16 March 2019: Australia 0-1 Argentina – Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre (AUS)
4 May 2019: Argentina 1-1 Australia (3-1 After shoot-out) – Cenard, Buenos Aires (ARG)

FIH Hero World Ranking (as of January 2019): 4
How they qualified: 2nd Place – FIH Pro League
FIH Pro League results summary: Pl: 16 Wins: 10 Draws: SO-Bonus: Losses: GF: 31 GA: 15 GD: 16 Pts: 38

Notable honours: 2x World Cup winners (2002, 2010), 2x Olympic silver medallists (2000, 2012), 2x Olympic bronze medallists (2004, 2008), Hockey World League champions (2015), 7x Champions Trophy winners (2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016), 6x Pan-American Games gold medallists (1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007), 5x Pan-American Cup winners (2001, 2004, 2009, 2013, 2017).

About the team: Following a disappointing 2018, the return of two iconic figures at the start of 2019 has triggered a renaissance for Argentina. Charismatic tactician Carlos Retegui – who guided Argentina’s men to Olympic gold at Rio 2016 and also Las Leonas to World Cup glory in 2010 – has restored self-belief, while Carla Rebecchi’s comeback after two-and-a-half years has also played a big role in revival. Rebecchi, Rosario Luchetti and goalkeeper Belen Succi have masses of world level experience, while Maria Granatto, Florencia Habif and Lucina von der Heyde – named Best Young Player at the World Cup in London – have all been outstanding performers this year. Even without injured star striker Delfina Merino, Argentina will feel that they have every chance of achieving glory at the Wagener Stadium.

Player Perspective – Carla Rebecchi: “We are really happy to be qualified for the Final Four. We have been training hard since the beginning of the year, improving as a team match after match.  We are looking forward to the Grand Final in Holland. We hope we can do our best and give everything we have on the field.”

Netherlands vs Germany (1st vs 4th)

Previous FIH Pro League meetings
26 April 2019: Germany 0-1 Netherlands – Hockeypark, Mönchengladbach (GER)
4 June 2019: Netherlands 2-1 Germany – HC Oranje-Rood, Eindhoven (NED)

The Netherlands

FIH Hero World Ranking (as of January 2019): 1
How they qualified: 1st Place – FIH Pro League
FIH Pro League results summary: Pl: 16 Wins: 15 Draws: 0  SO-Bonus: Losses: GF: 41 GA: 10 GD: 31 Pts: 45

Notable honours: 
3x Olympic gold medallists (1984, 2008, 2012), 2x Olympic silver medallists (2004, 2016), 3x Olympic bronze medallists (1988, 1996, 2000), 8x World Cup winners (1974, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1990, 2006, 2014, 2018), 2x Hockey World League champions (2012-14, 2016-17), 7x Champions Trophy winners (1987, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2018), 9x European champions (1984, 1987, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2017).

About the team: Reigning world and European champions the Netherlands – coached by former Australia international Alyson Annan, a double Olympic gold medallist and twice FIH Player of the Year – have been consistently brilliant, recovering from an early loss against Australia in Melbourne by recording a succession of victories to qualify for the Grand Final with consummate ease. Lidewij Welten, captain Eva de Goede and Xan de Waard – all shortlisted for the FIH Player of the Year Award 2018, with De Goede taking the prize – have been exceptional, while Frederque Matla and penalty corner ace Caia van Maasakker have been prolific in front of goal. The Oranje are unquestionably the team to beat in Amsterdam, and it will take something truly extraordinary to stop them winning the inaugural FIH Pro League title.

Player Perspective – Marijn Veen: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m very excited about playing Germany in front of a lot of people in the Wagener Stadium. I think Germany are a very good team, very fit, so it will be a tough game, but we are ready.”


FIH Hero World Ranking (as of January 2019): 5
How they qualified: 4th Place – FIH Pro League
FIH Pro League results summary: Pl: 16 Wins: Draws: SO-Bonus: Losses: GF: 34 GA: 24 GD: 10 Pts: 29

Notable honours: Olympic gold medallists (2004), 2x Olympic silver medallists (1984, 1992), Olympic bronze medallists (2016), 2x World Champions (1976, 1981), 2x European champions (2007, 2013), Champions Trophy gold medallists (2006).

About the team: Germany have produced some terrific performances on the way to sealing a top four finish in the FIH Pro League, with impressive away wins against New Zealand, Great Britain, Belgium and USA adding valuable points to the five victories they secured on home soil. Captain Janne Müller-Wieland, Lena Micheel, Elisa Gräve, Nike Lorenz and goalkeeper Julia Sonntag have all been excellent performers for Die Danas this year. Star attacker Charlotte Stapenhorst has been arguably Germany’s most influential player in the competition, but a serious knee injury sustained in her side’s recent home defeat against Australia has ruled her out of the Grand Final. The team are coached by Xavier Reckinger, who as a player made over 300 international appearances for Belgium.

Player Perspective – Janne Müller-Wieland:“We are really looking forward to the Grand Final. The Pro League itself was a great experience already, but having the chance to again play two of the best nations in the world in an amazing atmosphere will be amazing. That is what we are really looking forward to, and how we will grow and develop. We’ve learned a lot over the last eight games both home and away. If we manage to change a couple of things then it could be a really interesting Grand Final, but for now we are just happy to be part of it.”

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