No bad blood between us and Argentina, says GB women's hockey star Richardson
Tuesday, 07 August 2012
August 7 - Britain's women's hockey star Helen Richardson insists there is no bad blood between the home side's hockey team and Argentina, ahead of their London 2012 semi-final tomorrow night.
The last time the two countries met was at the Olympic test event in May, where a bruising encounter, which Britain won 2-0, saw penalty corner expert Crista Cullen and star forward Alex Danson (pictured below, front) both suffer injuries which threatened their participation in London 2012.
That match came at a time when tensions were particularly high between the two countries, after Argentine men's hockey star Fernando Zylberberg took part in an advert filmed on the contested Falkland Islands, which the South Americans claimed belonged to them.
"Hockey is a physical game, there are always little knocks people pick up, nothing is done deliberately," Richardson (pictured above) said during a teleconference.
"That is just hockey as a sport, there is no ill feeling at all towards the Argentinians.
"We are glad we have the chance to put right the Champions Trophy," Richardson added, referring to the clash with Argentina in the final of that tournament back in February.
The competition was held in Argentina, and Britain's women's team put on their best ever Champions Trophy show to reach the final, but lost 1-0 in a tight encounter.
They have since met twice at the Olympic test event, with both games being won 2-0 by Britain.
However, Danny Kerry's side has not been quite as dazzling as they were at the start of the year of late.
They lost to South Africa and Germany, both outsiders, at the recent Investec Cup in London, although the team was missing four key players.
And although Britain began the Olympics superbly, beating Japan, South Korea and Belgium, scoring 12 goals in the process, they have lost their last two games – to China and the Netherlands.
They were indebted to Japan to progress to the last four, after they yesterday surprised the Chinese with a 1-0 win at the Riverbank Arena to ensure Britain's progression.
But Kerry's team then lost 2-1 yesterday to world number one the Netherlands, who have won all five of their games and are the favourites for gold.
Richardson believes they are well suited to playing the Argentines.
"We are really looking forward to playing Argentina, history shows we always have a good game against them.
"They have the kind of style we like to play against.
"Hopefully it will be an open game and we can play our running, good passing hockey
"It will be nice to play in front of our home crowd and not theirs for a change!"
Richardson picked out captain Luciana Aymar (pictured above, right) as a key threat to Britain tomorrow night.
"She is incredibly important to Argentina, if she plays well they tend to play well.
"They are not just a one man [sic] team, they have talent throughout the ranks.
"We will have to play very well to beat them, it is a semi final of the Olympic games...we definitely have the game plan and players to do it."
Georgie Twigg (pictured above, right), one of the younger members of the team, added that the home advantage could be pivotal.
"[I am] really looking forward to getting out there, and having the 16,000 British fans is fantastic.
"They have been brilliant throughout the whole tournament.
"We know it is going to be a great match and it will be a great battle.
"When we played them in the Champions Trophy they had 16,000 home fans and we could see how uplifting they were for Argentina there, and I think it will be the same here.
"I think the crowd will be so uplifting for us...it will be a great fight but having home advantage is really great for us."
July 2012: Andrew Warshaw - Britain earns bragging rights over Argentina in latest sporting skirmish, this time on actual "home soil"
May 2012: Britain to cross swords with Argentina in potentially fiery opening men's hockey match of London 2012
May 2012: Argentine hockey player featured in controversial Falklands advert dropped from squad ahead of Olympics
May 2012: Argentina slammed by IOC for airing "political" TV advert shot on Falkland Islands
May 2012: Argentine hockey player sparks anger after releasing Olympic training video in the Falklands