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Magical Luciana Aymar will be a woman possessed for Argentina, says England women’s coach Danny Kerry

Magical Luciana Aymar will be a woman possessed for Argentina, says England women’s coach Danny Kerry

Posted by Juan Gavasa on November 27, 2014

Danny Kerry, the England women’s hockey coach, says his side will likely have to quell, in Luciana Aymar, a “woman possessed” when their Champions Trophy campaign starts in Mendoza this weekend.

Aymar, 37, will play her last tournament for Argentina on home soil before retiring after a stellar 15-year career which incorporated World Cup wins in 2002 and 2010, as well as five Champions Trophy titles.

Her attempts at a sixth Champions Trophy success will not only usher in a new dawn for Argentine hockey without their most talismanic figure, but also herald the start of Kerry’s first official tournament in charge of England as they attempt to back-up their Commonwealth Games silver after a poor summer World Cup.

England, who play Glasgow winners Australia in their opening match on Saturday, will meet Argentina on Tuesday, a key game which will decide the quarter-final berths of the eight-team tournament in Aymar’s homeland.

Kerry, who is also England Hockey’s performance director, was under no illusions of the task facing his side when they take to the pitch in front of a sell-out 5,000 crowd at the Estadio Mendocino.

Conversely, Argentina’s technical director, Santiago Capurro, admitted that he would feel un orgullo bárbaro - barbaric pride - at overseeing one of Aymar’s last games at the helm of Las Leones.

“In 2010, when they had the World Cup in her home town of Rosario, Aymar was like a woman possessed,” said Kerry.

“She’s always had a quality to open up the opposition with the ball but she worked collectively for the team throughout that World Cup. She brought a quality that most people felt that perhaps wasn’t necessarily there.

“So one of two things will happen in Mendoza. Either she’ll repeat 2010, wanting to win big in her last tournament for the national team or it will be about what she can do with the ball, that magical moment where she can float through and occupy players' minds.

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