The top teams of pool play are ready to battle in single-elimination style in pursuit of a medal in Rio. Some teams had more turbulent times than others but prevailed in the end to get another shot at advancing in the tournament. Here are the matchup’s of Sunday’s quarterfinal games.
Spain vs. Argentina
Spain propelled itself to a hot start in pool play, winning its first three matches. The team had its struggles against a dominant Belgium and ended pool play tying Great Britain, who did not qualify for the quarterfinal round.
Argentina on the other hand had a rollercoaster run, ending with it being on the cusp of qualification. One of the team’s most impressive feats of the tournament was scoring four goals to tie Germany, the two-time defending gold medalist. Argentina held of Ireland to qualify, and they will look to have another big game against Spain led by the team’s premier scorer Gonzalo Peillat.
Belgium vs. India
India has shown that they are a team on the rise, determined to bring a medal back to the country. However, they will have one of the toughest matchups of the quarterfinals playing Belgium, who has been playing outstanding hockey.
Despite a loss to New Zealand in the last game of pool play, Belgium had clinched the top spot in the standings. They led the entire men’s tournament with most goals scored in an individual game, racking up 12 against Brazil. Tanguy Cosyns has had the biggest impact on Belgium’s offense, and the team will look to him to continue his scoring ways heading into the matchup with India.
Netherlands vs. Australia
Australia, the gold medal favorites, had the most surprising run in the tournament. After earning its first win, the Kookaburras took an upset loss to Spain. Then Belgium came through and gave the team its second shocking loss, leaving people wondering if they could live up to the pre-Olympics hype.
The team fought back strong, and its last win against Brazil where they scored nine goals proved just how well its offense can work.
Taking on the Netherlands is no easy task. They have been led by the attacks of Mink Van der Weerden and Seve Van Ass. Australia will need to figure out how to capitalize on its penalty corners when given the chace, something that the Netherlands has done quite well throughout the tournament.
Germany vs. New Zealand
The two-time defending gold medalist finished at the top of Pool B as expected from its play, despite coming into the tournament ranked No. 3 behind the Netherlands.
However, New Zealand knows what it takes to beat a top seed. The Black Sticks finished off the tournament taking down Belgium by two goals. If New Zealand shows up to play, they can be a very dangerous team, especially when they play through team captain Simon Child. They will have to want it more than Germany wants the three-peat.