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Ireland's Olympics quest looks set for victory boost

Ireland coach Darren Smith insists that Uruguay cannot be taken lightly in what is a vital game for both teams at the World League 3 tournament in Valencia today.

Both Ireland and the south Americans - who at 29th in the world are the lowest ranked team in the tournament - are aiming for a top four finish in Pool B which would keep Rio 2016 hopes alive.

Smith's team do have a three point cushion over their opponents, having opened with a 4-1 win over South Africa while Uruguay lost 8-0 to Germany and 2-0 to the United States - a match the Irish coach watched with interest.

"Penalty corner time will be very important with an aggressive Uruguay unit only conceding one goal and saving 20 (set-pieces) against USA," said the New Zealander.

"I'm sure we will get corner opportunities so if we can make them count it will put more pressure on Uruguay but it is a very important match against a potentially difficult opponent," he warned.

"They have two runners, one on the left and one on the right, who we will look to exploit with quality variations," Smith commented.

"They have a similar look to them as Italy and Chile in that there is some good individual flair, counter attack and plenty of passion.

"We will look to play the game with some tempo to try and force them into mistakes," he added.

So Ireland have a plan in place and are favourites to make their quality count in the battle to reach Rio.

Today: Pool A: Great Britain v Argentina (4pm); Spain v Canada (6pm); Pool B: Ireland v Uruguay (12noon); South Africa v USA (2pm); Tomorrow: Pool A: Canada v Great Britain (4pm); China v Argentina (6pm); Pool B: Uruguay v South Africa (12noon); Germany v USA (2pm).

Belfast Telegraph


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