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Hockey - 17. January 2012.

Aymar back.- Four Nations Cordoba

In their first tournament of 2012, Carlos Retegui and the Las Leonas Argentine World Champions  play in the Four Nations later today alongside Great Britain, South Korea and New Zealand at the Provincial Stadium. Cordoba, Argentina’s first game will be against the  New Zealand "Black sticks" later this evening.

(Part 1) -directly translated  by and augmented from the original in Spanish fromsource "Vavel Latinoamérica ", Argentina by John Coxon)

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The game will see the welcome return of Luciana Aymar , who has not played for the national team in an international since the final in the World Cup in Rosario having been granted time out by the coach and team staff , although she later did train with pre-selection squads and following an individual training programme set her by the coaching team. Las Leonas will begin here, their final preparations in the run up to the Olympics in London, a gold in which still  illudes them having been victorious in all other major competitions at some time. Possibly the world's greatest player, Luicana is expected to  retire after the 2012 Olympics.  

The line up tomorrow will see the notable and somewhat unwelcome absence of the experienced forward and former Leonas stalwart , #10 Soledad Garcia who has been dropped form the squad, apparently through a row over questions of her commitment to the national team training programme  due in part to what some have seen as divided loyalites with her commitments  to her playing club hockey in Holland  for SCHC and where she has bveen voted the msot effective player in the Hoofdklasse league throughout the first part of the 2011-2012. Somewhat awkwardly , Sole will have to be present because the Government of the Cordoba Region had decided to name the Provincial stadium in  her honour, the irony of which is inescapable, but she will, we are informed, unspringly perhaps, not stay and be present at any of the games.

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The Four Nations tournament kicks off tomorrow with the ever improving GB squad taking on the South Koreans in the evenings first game and later the host nation will take on the Black sticks of New Zealand. 
The squad  chosen  by coach Carlos Retegui for the tournament are: Luciana Aymar, Noel Barrionuevo, Belen Succi, Silvina D'Elia, Macarena Rodriguez, Mariela Scarone, Daniela and Josephine Sruoga, Rosario Luchetti, Delfina Merino, Carla Rebecchi, Laura Del Colle, Habif Florence, Sofia Maccari, Rocio Sanchez Moccia, Carla Dupuy, Maria Jose Fernandez and Jimena Cedrés.

Part 2  Thoughts on the 2012 Champions Trophy, Rosario 
This tournament is the prelude to the 2012 Champions Trophy to be played in Rosario, from 28 January to 5 February when they will most probaly relish a tilt at the current holders who took the Trophy Las Leonas had won in Nottingham in convincing style from Argentina. Carlos Retegui has been rejoined by Professor  Luis Barrioneuvo called back from "exile" recently, to help assess and remediate a slight drop in sparkle in the national squad  ( the two having parted company after the World Cup over differences about the way forward for the team.) 
 (Aymar, Barrioneuvo and Retegui Nottingham CT2010) 
Luis Barrionuevo, team trainer spoke recently about the national teams, pre-Olympic planning schedule whose final part he code named " Plan Big Ben.” He explained , “First the Champions Trophy in Rosario. Then secondly 25 to 30 days intensive preparation prior to the  tour of test friendlies  in Australia and New Zealand Then, before traveling to London we will reach the third stage, with work and leadership coaching, beyond the physical, technical and tactical side of the game, followed by a tour in the United States, then 'Plan Big Ben' will be implemented. For five weeks, Monday through till Friday, we will have very hard physical work, ending some six or seven weeks before the Olympics. As for the World Cup in Rosario, after a major plan like this, we will leave the girls a space of several weeks for their bodies to recover  so they  can begin to feel comfortable on the pitch then back to it.” 

The Dutch though are "under new management" with the departure of Herman Kruis immmediately after the Dutch defeat in the World Cup against the home nation in Rosario. Charismatic and talented ex-Argentine international, Max Caldas is now at the helm and he  has lifted the team , added  new players including two from his former club ( as coach), Amsterdam and brought back the spark,  fun and sharpness to what is once again a formidable oponent. 

Max  was assistant to Klammers and  saw the national team take gold from the Australian Hockeyroos in the 2006 World Cup in Madrid. He later quit Amsterdam and took over coaching the formidable Bloemendaal Men's Team  a post which he relinquished when taking over from an out of favour Kruis. The GB women are also in fine shape under the consistent mentoring  of Danny Kerry and must be fancied to improve on their bronze podium finish at the Champions Trophy , Nottingham 2010, where  a certian place in the final was denied to them by virtue only of the  against the run of form, in a disappointing draw  with that year's wooden spoon recipients , the Black Sticks. More information from me here :-

Facebook Champions Trophy Rosario 2012

by John Coxon    18/01/2012

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