Field Hockey Canada > Canadian men welcome opportunity to face Blacksticks in Thursday's quarterfinal

After it’s one-sided loss to Germany in the final match of the round robin portion of the World League Semifinals in Argentina, if there was a question of whether the Canadian Men’s Field Hockey Team would be ready for its quarterfinal match, it was answered when they drew New Zealand. 

Canada and the Kiwis have grown to know each other quite well over the last year, and for the Canadians that will be a welcome familiarity when they take to the pitch against World No. 7 Blacksticks Thursday (1:30pm PT/4:30pm ET) in Buenos Aires. 

“It’s a great thing from our perspective,” says Canadian head coach Anthony Farry. “We don’t go into an unknown game. We know exactly what we’re going to get.”

What they’re going to get is a New Zealand side that are crafty and skilled, but above all else, play very strongly as a team. And if Canada wants to win, they’ll have to match each of those aspects. 

“We’ve seen them a fair bit over the last twelve months,” adds Farry. “We know how tough it’s going to be but we’re looking forward to it. We know it’s going to be a real battle.”

The two teams last met in November of 2014 when the Canadian were in New Zealand for warm weather training during the cold Canadian winter. 

The Kiwis won each of the four official test matches, but Canada competed in and had a chance to win every game. 

They also met at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland when Canada held New Zealand to a 1-1 draw until fifty-eighth minute before giving up a couple of late goals in the second half to take the loss.

For a team that is more together now than ever, after two big wins to open the World League Semifinals, facing New Zealand under these circumstances may be exactly what they need to break through. 

“This is the game,” Farry says. “We’ve put ourselves exactly where we wanted to be coming into this tournament.”

“We’re well aware of the magnitude of this game and we also know that we’ve done to get us to where we are and we’re looking forward to putting in a really good performance”

What’s at stake is a berth in the tournament semifinal, a guaranteed top-four finish, and a shot at playing for Olympic qualification on the weekend.

But before they can get there, they will face a familiar foe in the Blacksticks and hope their recent meetings have conjured the right recipe for success.

Click here for Canada’s full World League Semifinals schedule and results.