The world’s 11th-ranked South Africa face world number 15 Spain at 2pm SA time Saturday with the winners earning the right to play for fifth place against world number 14 Ireland or world number five USA at 2pm on Sunday. The losers will play for seventh place at 11.30am Sunday.
South Africa’s matches at Campo De Hockey De Valencia on Saturday and Sunday will not be shown on SuperSport.
Spain also have to pick themselves up for the SA match after the crushing blow of quarter-final defeat at the hands of world number six Germany on Thursday night, this after they had led 1-0 until nine minutes from full-time time and also 2-0 in the subsequent penalty shootout. Germany went on to win the shootout 3-2 after the scores were 1-1 in regulation time.
Both the SA and Spain coaching staff and players will be familiar with each other. The likes of Spanish goalkeeper Maria Lopez, captain Rocio Ybarra, playmaker Georgina Oliva and coach Adrian Lock have crossed swords with South African counterparts Sanani Mangisa, Nicolene Terblanche, Jade Mayne and Sheldon Rostron in a number of close encounters between the two sides in the last five years and Saturday’s outcome is not easy to call.
For SA, a fifth-place finish is a must. Should two of three semi-finalists in Valencia – Argentina (Pan-American), Great Britain and Germany (both Europe) win their upcoming continental championship, it would bring the fifth-placed team into the picture as a qualifier for Rio.
The fourth semi-finalist in Valencia, China, lost their continental championship to South Korea.
Saturday’s semi-finals see world number three Argentina against world number seven China at 4.30pm (SA time) and the second semi-final pitches world number eight Great Britain versus Germany at 7pm. Both semi-finals will be televised live on SuperSport 8.
Of Sunday’s classification matches in Valencia, SuperSport will only be screening the 7pm final.
This weekend, SuperSport will be showing a number of live matches from the World League Semi-Final men’s and women’s tournaments in Antwerp, Belgium.
South Africa: Sanani Mangisa, Lisa Deetlefs, Nicole Walraven, Line Malan, Celia Evans, Nicolene Terblanche (capt), Shelley Russell, Jade Mayne, Bernie Coston, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lilian du Plessis, Anelle van Deventer, Erin Hunter, Quanita Bobbs, Illse Davids, Kelly Madsen, Candice Manuel, Tanya Britz.