Ranking points now the target for Ireland

Ireland’s women will aim to bounce back this afternoon from Thursday’s tough loss at the hands of the USA, facing Azerbaijan in the race for fifth place with world ranking points on offer.

Coach Gene Muller can be consoled by the fact Ireland are in bonus territory in the latter regard as their elevation to Champions Challenge I from the Challenge II equivalent of 2009 means they cannot lose points.

A third place finish in Kazan does not garner the same amount of points as an eighth place finish but maintaining Challenge I status will be vital. They tip off again in an early evening game (6pm) as part of an enticing double-header, raising the curtain on their male counterparts.

Ronan Gormley’s side have shown some breath-taking, attacking hockey at times this week in victories over France and China and face a Pakistan side (8pm), currently ranked eighth in the world.

The Asian side have been loudly supported all week and, in conjunction with the women’s tie, should make for a packed house at the National Hockey Stadium.

At the start of the day’s play, Ireland need a point to confirm their place in the final but could be confirmed there already should France slip in the day’s opening game against China (12.30pm)

** Due to a personal commitment, The Hook will be running a slightly scaled back service today. Twitter goal updates will appear in for the two women’s classification games and the men’s game between Ireland and Pakistan but not for the France vs China game

** Live streaming continues for all four games here

** Reports of the day’s action will be provided by Alan Good from the excellent Southern Fried Hockey, they will be posted late tonight.

** Comments and Facebook pics may not be uploaded during the day but Adrian Boehm will be uploading photos to the Irish Hockey Photographers tournament gallery this evening

Friday’s schedule:
Electric Ireland Champion’s Challenge I (both a Belfield):
South Africa vs India, 3.30pm; Azerbaijan vs Ireland, 6pm
UCD 4 Nations Cup (both at Belfield): France vs China, 12.30pm; Ireland vs Pakistan,8pm

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