Black Sticks defender Kane Russell says there will be no lack of urgency in tonight’s must-win final pool match with defending Olympic champions Argentina.
The Kiwis, who are third-equal on the table with Spain and Argentina, need to beat the South Americans to secure a quarterfinals spot and not have to rely on other results going their way.
“For one of these teams it could be their last game so everyone will leave everything on the paddock. This team does well when we have no choice but to fight.”
Russell who added two more drag flick penalty corner goals against Australia to take his Olympic tally to four, said if they can repeat their efforts against the Kookaburras they should take three points in today’s match.
“I think if we play like that against Argentina we should be able to put them away and maybe secure third spot in the pool,” he said after the 4-2 loss to the Kookaburras late on Wednesday.
Russell said Argentina were a bit of an unknown with the lack of international hockey in the past year.
“We haven’t played them a lot and they’re got some new players. We just need to look after their counter-attack as they’ve got some pretty skilful strikers up front and a strong penalty corner. If we can take care of their threats we can do a good job.”
The Otago defender said he was pleased the Black Sticks had an extra rest day compared to Argentina who had to play in the blistering heat early yesterday morning.
“That’s a big bonus for us especially at this stage of the tournament when teams start to run out of legs. They played at 9.30am today in the heat and it’s pretty draining here then.”