Helen Richardson has hailed the honesty of head coach Danny Kerry as Great Britain’s hockey women aim to take another step towards Olympic gold against Argentina on Wednesday evening (8pm).

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King’s Lynn coach Kerry was publicly critical of his players after they threw away a lead to lose 2-1 to Pool A winners the Netherlands on Monday night.

The hosts’ passage to the last four was already guaranteed after Japan earlier pulled off a shock 1-0 win over China, but Kerry warned a much-improved display will be required to see off the reigning World Cup champions in the last four.

Richardson agrees, and believes Kerry’s straight-talking is a big part of what makes him such an effective coach.

“You need a coach who is going to be honest with you, and Danny gives us that,” she said. “There’s no point telling us everything is OK if it isn’t.

“As players, we knew we didn’t play as well as we can against the Netherlands, and we know that if we want to get to the final we have to do better. But we’re confident we can do that. The players in this squad thrive under the pressure of big games.

“Danny is always pretty honest with us, and I think that is a good thing.”

Great Britain’s women have plenty of recent history with their semi-final opponents. The two sides played out a 2-2 draw in the pool stage at Beijing in 2008.

Argentina triumphed 1-0 in a hard-fought Champions Trophy final clash in Rosario in February, but Great Britain avenged that defeat three months later with two victories at the London 2012 test event.

Wednesday’s clash promises to be another close contest, but Richardson believes recent results have given the hosts the confidence to come out on top.

“We’re really looking forward to the game,” she added. “As history shows, we always have great matches against them. It’s always an open game, so hopefully we can play some good passing hockey.

“They’re a good, strong team but we enjoy playing against them. They had the crowd behind them last time, but this time we have home advantage – hopefully that will make a difference.”

If Great Britain are to emerge victorious however, Richardson believes they will have to nullify Argentina’s biggest weapon – captain and seven-time world player of the year Luciana Aymar.

“She’s incredibly important to them,” Richardson admitted. “She’s obviously not their only threat, but if we can stop her it will make our job much easier.”

n Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of Team GB and partner of London 2012. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012

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