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A bolstered US women's hockey team will fight till end

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Current World Ranking # 10 (1233 points)

Clubbed with Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in Pool B at the London Games.

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Best result: Bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. They defeated Australia 10-5 in penalty strokes to finish third soon after the Dutch beat Australia.

Last Olympics: Finished eighth

The US women's hockey has participated four times in the Olympics, twice as the hosts. They returned to the 2008 Beijing Games after missing the 2000 and 2004 editions. Their best result in the World Cup is also winning a bronze at the 1994 Dublin edition. They, however, missed the last WC played in Rosario in 2010.

The Road to London:
The US women's team put up a terrific show against the Pan American powerhouse, Argentina, in the last year's Pan American Games where they defeated the Latin American side 4-2 and gained an automatic berth in the London Games. The Argentines did not lose a single match till that match against the Americans. The team has played more than 20 test matches against good sides since January this year to gear up for the Olympics, something which will keep them in good shape during the mega show.

Players to watch out for:
Veteran Lauren Crandall, who had played an instrumental role in the Pan American Games victory, is known for her defending skills and inspiring work ethic. Return of Amy Swensen, who was adjudged the best goalkeeper in the 2006 World Cup in Madrid and twice selected to the FIH All-Star Team in 2006 and 2007, will bolster the defence more. Jaclyn Kintzer is another talented young goal-keeper who did the national duty while Swensen took a break. Midfielders Katelyn Falgowski and Kayla Bashore-Smedley and striker Keli Smith-Puzo are some of the other players the US will look forward to.

1. The side comprises seven players with Olympic experience.
2. Solid defence.
3. Super fitness levels.
4. Will be fine-tuned for the Games following a streak of practice matches.

1. Lack of a good penalty-corner specialist and striker to penetrate defence of good oppositions.

Chances of progress at the London Olympics: 3/10
The US coach has said that they were looking to win in the Olympics and not just gain experience. Sounds great but the Americans will find a very little breathing place in a tough Pool B. Nevertheless, they can register a few surprises and can hope to improve their 2008 performance. The US will play their first match against Germany on Jul 29.

Amy Swensen; Lauren Crandall, Claire Laubach, Caroline Nichols, Julia Reinprecht, Kayla Bashore-Smedley, Katelyn Falgowski, Melissa Gonzalez, Katie Reinprecht, Rachel Dawson, Michelle Kasold, Katie O'Donnell, Paige Selenski, Keli Smith Puzo, Shannon Taylor, Michelle Vittese.

Australian Lee Bodimeade, who started coaching the team in 2005 and helped it achieve great heights. Bodimeade has a rich coaching experience and will be helped by former Australian player and Olympic and WC medal winners Terry Walsh. The latter is the United States Field Hockey Association's technical director.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Saturday, July 7, 2012, 12:59 [IST]
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