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Ireland's call - give it all or save energy for play-offs

By Staff Reporter

Ireland are going to have to do something they have never done before if they are to qualify for the World League 3 semi-finals in Antwerp - beat world champions Australia.

The Irish have faced the Kookaburras just seven times in their history but on each occasion there has been only one outcome. And, being realistic, it's hard to see anything changing today when they meet in the World League 3 tournament quarter-finals (12pm).

The Aussies came into the tournament as favourites and four straight pool wins, scoring 26 and conceding just three, showed just how clinical they can be.

And they have every intention of going for the jugular against the Irish to effectively book their place in Rio and take off any pressure going into the final two games.

Irish coach Craig Fulton has a hard call to make. Do his players put everything into trying to upset the favourites or keep something in the tank for the fifth to eighth play-offs where they would have to win twice to earn their place in Rio?

The Irish women put all into their quarter-final a few weeks ago but lost out and weren't able to lift themselves for their crucial final two games.

The men's coach is keeping his cards close to his chest but must realise the chances of beating the Aussies is extremely slim. It's likely the Irish will give it a go and if they fall a couple of goals behind, then expect them to ease up and save energy.

Today's programme

Quarter-finals: Ireland v Australia (12pm); Great Britain v Pakistan (2.30pm); India v Malaysia (5pm); Belgium v France (7.30pm). 9th-10th: China v Poland (9.30am).

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