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Call for Australia to match physical Argentina team

Friday, June 13, 2014

THE HAGUE - Australian hockey star Jamie Dwyer has demanded his team lift their tempo to match a physical Argentine team today in their World Cup semi-final.

The Kookaburras were near flawless in the group stage of the tournament, going through undefeated while racking up 19 goals and conceding just one - in a 3-1 victory over Belgium.

But Dwyer warned the aggressive nature of the Argentines will provide a trickier hurdle for the defending champions, who could join rare company with a successful weekend.

A win in Sunday's final would draw Australia level with hosts the Netherlands on three World Cup crowns and behind only four-time champions Pakistan.

Argentina, ranked 11th in the world coming into the World Cup, have shocked many to reach the semi-finals — thanks largely to their stunning 1-0 upset of world No.2 Germany.

"We've been playing pretty well but, obviously, that means nothing now — we've got to win our last two games," Dwyer told AAP.

"Argentina are fairly unique in the style that they play. They're very physical.

"They're going to be tough to beat, that's for sure, because they've been playing some really good hockey.

"But we think that our style can win the tournament. Hopefully, we perform on the day."

One of the key figures Australia will need to shut down is Argentina's penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat who has risen to be the tournament's top goalscorer with nine, all from short corners.

But in open play, Dwyer indicated the Australians were not too fearful of Peillat's qualities — and suggested the key to eliminating his role in the game was to limit the number of penalty corners awarded.

"It's just his penalty corner attack which has been impressive," Dwyer said.

"There's always one or two guys every tournament that are really good at penalty corner attack.

"As a player, he's probably not the best player. But his penalty corner attack is lethal.

"We have to stop the other guys getting penalty corners for him and, hopefully, he won't be too good," he said.

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