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Keeping possession vital against the world champs

india Updated: May 08, 2011 01:01 IST
Arjun Halappa

After a tough game against Great Britain, it was good to get a rest day. There are no easy games here, since almost every side is at full strength. Since we have two big games coming up on consecutive days, the rest day is definitely welcome.

Up next are world, Olympic and Commonwealth champions Australia on Sunday. That is a game that will be very important for us, so there is no question of taking it easy. Also, having lost the first game, every match is important for us. The most important thing for us is concentration. We need to stay focused for the entire 70 minutes.

Even the slightest loss of intensity can make a big difference against Australia and that is what we need to guard against. Australia are a team who always attack whether they lead or trail. They are always on the lookout for a goal. We saw that against Malaysia yesterday when Australia got the winner with 35 seconds remaining.

In terms of tactics, we won't change our game much. There is a system that we have slowly come to believe in for the last two years and we will try to stick to that. It is good that the change of guard in team management has not meant a change in system. It is now beginning to pay off. We will be looking to up the speed and momentum.

Australia are expected to score early and then add pressure. During the CWG final, we saw them sit back for the first 20 minutes and then come attacking. After that, they kept scoring on counters also.

What is more important is to keep them away from the ball. It will be important for us to keep possession and play short and hard. Running hard will also be important, both with and without the ball.

However, I feel that it will be unfair to compare the two sides. Though Australia do play at a different level, they are here without their top 5-6 players. But that doesn't make them a weaker team.

On the other hand, we are also playing without several of our top and key players.

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