Ones to Watch: Argentina

Argentina women
Argentina aren't the world number three ranked side for nothing and the power, flair and speed in their side is personified by three standout players.

Veteran Noel Barrionuevo, star striker Delfina Merino and livewire Maria Jose Granatto will once again be three stars to watch as Las Leonas head to the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup in London next summer.

They sit in an enticing and tight group which sees them come up against Germany, South Africa and Spain in Pool C.

Noel Barrionuevo Argentina

Barrionuevo remains one of Argentina’s most experienced and well known players as she continues her long and illustrious career. ‘Noe’ is nearing 300 appearances for her country and has scored well over 150 goals. 

'Noe' has 19 major medals to her name with 12 of these gold and will be hoping to claim a second World Cup winners medal in London next year. She is renowned for her specialist skills at penalty corners but remains a world class defender in her own right.  

Delfina Merino

Captain Delfina Merino has had another standout year, outstanding work which continues to lead her to becoming a Las Leonas legend. The talented forward was top scorer at the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Finals and has led Argentina to their fifth successive Pan American Cup triumph while maintaining her side’s position at number three in the world rankings.

Her standout leadership qualities and attacking flair have led to Merino being nominated for the FIH Hockey Stars Female Player of the Year awards and she will no doubt be a strong contender to take the crown.

Granatto

The skills of Maria Jose Granatto have been well documented worldwide as she was named FIH’s Female Rising Star in 2016, and she has continued to shine on the international stage in 2017. 

Having made her debut back in 2015 and wearing the coveted number eight worn by Argentina and world hockey legend Luciana Aymar on this occasion, she hasn’t looked back. 

Still aged just 22, Granatto is always exciting to watch with her electric pace and stick skills, as well as surprising strength and power despite her size.