India look to corner England
Riding on a high after their magnificent display against Pakistan, hosts India will face England for a place in the hockey final of the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday. World Champions Australia will compete against New Zealand in the other semi-final match.india Updated: Oct 12, 2010 00:26 IST
Riding on a high after their magnificent display against Pakistan, hosts India will face England for a place in the hockey final of the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday. World Champions Australia will compete against New Zealand in the other semi-final match.
Though inconsistent in their campaign, coach Jose Brasa's men have improved their game significantly and will have to continue the trend against a side that has developed a reputation of possessing a great defence.
A marginal 3-2 win in the opener against Malaysia led many to doubt the potential of India to threaten stronger teams. The defence lacked commitment and repeatedly allowed the opposition to test their goal scoring skills. It was against Australia though that the shoddy defence was left brutally exposed as the Kookaburras brushed India aside with a 5-2 victory.
The forward line however has shown good character so far. It unleashed terror against arch rivals Pakistan and showed better conversion of penalty corners. The likes of Shivendra, Sandeep, Rajpal and Sarvanjit have the skill and temperament to continue their goal scoring ways against the English.
But it will not be a walk in the park against the world number four side.
Led by striker Ashley Jackson, England raked in 10 points in the league stages to top their pool.
Though Jackson would hope to increase his personal goal tally, the forward line, consisting of experienced campaigners in James Tindall and Taine Paton, need to be constantly fed with opportunities.
But England wouldn't have 25,000 supporters on their side, unlike the hosts. And as Pakistan would vouch, crowd support can definitely play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of a match.