Best result: Silver in 2000 Sydney Olympics. They lost 1-3 to hosts Australia.
Last Olympics: Won bronze
Argentina is one of the top two teams in international women's hockey, the other team being the Netherlands (just 33 points separate the two). The Argentine women's hockey team, popularly called the Las Leonas (meaning the Lionesses), had beaten the Dutch in the 2010 World Cup final. They have hogged the limelight regularly ever since the 2000 Olympics by producing startling performances at every major world event in women's hockey. Apart from one Olympic silver, the Las Leonas have also bagged bronze in the last two Olympics. They have won two World Cups and five Champion Trophies.
However, the South Americans only qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games through the back door, after a shock defeat at the hands of the USA in the final of the Pan American Games.
The Road to London:
Argentina, however, qualified for the London Games through the back door after losing 2-4 to an upbeat USA in the final of the Pan American Games last year. The team perhaps became complacent after the WC win and some of its key players failed against the USA. Lady luck smiled on the Argentines only after South Africa refused direct qualification after winning a 'sub-standard' African tournament and the former was given a berth in the Games.
Players to watch out for:
The stunning midfielder, Luciana Aymar, who received the FIH Player of the Year award for seven times, is said to be the driving force for Argentina.
The team does well when she is on song and not when her form dips. Noel Barrionuevo for her penalty-corners and Carla Rebecchi's maneuverability in front of opposition's goal are other players Argentina would look upto. Mercedes Margalot's return will add experience and stability to the defence department.
1. Luciana Aymar.
2. Fierce attacking style.
3. Speed and capacity to overwhelm the opposition.
1. Too-much dependence on a couple of players.
2. Defence not very strong.
3. Absence of Belen Succi, the goalkeeper at the 2008 Olympic Games and 2010 World Cup.
Chances of progress at the London Games: 8/10
The team's form might have slumped a bit since its victory in the World Cup 2010 but still it will be a premier contender for the top podium. Luciana Aymar, too, will like to conclude her illustratious career on a winning note. Las Leonas definitely look to be one of the final four teams at London. Argentina will kick off their campaign against South Africa on Jul 29.
Luciana Aymar, Laura Del Colle (GK), Florencia Mutio (GK), Mariela Scarone, Silvina D´Elía, Noel Barrionuevo, Florencia Habif, Daniela Sruoga, Josefina Sruoga, Rosario Luchetti, Sofía Maccari, Carla Rebecchi, Delfina Merino, Macarena Rodríguez, Rocío Sánchez Moccia, Martina Cavallero.
Carlos Retegui, 42, who had played for the Argentine men's team for 17 years, including three Olympics. He had coached the men's team earlier before taking over the women's team's coaching in 2009.