The Hockeyroos are preparing for their toughest test at the World Cup so far, with host nation Spain waiting in the quarter-final.
- The Hockeyroos recorded wins over Japan, Belgium and South Africa in the group stage
- They last played and beat Spain at last year’s Olympic Games
- The game will be Jane Claxton’s 200th for Australia
The Australian women swept through the group stage last week with three straight wins, but coach Katrina Powell says another level will need to be found once the knockout stage begins.
“Coming into the World Cup having only played four internationals against New Zealand this year, it was always going to be about improving with each game which we have done,” Powell said.
“Now everything goes up another gear and we need to match what Spain bring to the contest and better it.
“These are the matches you play in these big tournaments for and the ones you want to be part of.”
Group wins over Japan, Belgium and South Africa offered the Hockeyroos solid preparation for Wednesday morning’s big game.
But the Hockeyroos have an excellent record against Spain, including a 3-1 win at last year’s Olympic Games.
“Spain have played some excellent hockey so far and are match hardened having competed in the FIH Pro League leading into the tournament, which is something we missed out on because of COVID restrictions,” Powell said.
“We are well aware of what we are up against, but our group is in a really good space physically and mentally and won’t be leaving anything out on the pitch.”
The match will take on extra significance as it is Jane Claxton’s 200th for her country.
The Hockeyroos celebrated Mariah Williams’s 100th with a win against South Africa last time out, and Powell is hoping the same can be afforded to Claxton.
“Jane has been a fantastic player for the Hockeyroos from the day she first wore the uniform,” she said.
“She is a consummate professional, leaves no stone unturned to get best out of herself and the players around her, and the sole reason she plays the game is to achieve team success.”
“Jane is the last person that would want a big deal made of an individual milestone but getting to 200 games for your country is a magnificent achievement, so hopefully we celebrate it with a positive result against Spain.”