Great Britain may be ranked better and enjoying home advantage but the Pakistan players are motivated and have enough ability to beat the hosts termed favourites for the crucial clash today, according to team coach Khwaja Junaid.
Both Group A sides will take on each other at the Riverbank Arena in London in their Pool A match. While Britain defeated Argentina 4-1 before being held 2-2 by South Africa, Pakistan, ranked eighth in the world, played out a 1-1 draw with Spain before registering a 2-0 win over Argentina. A win will strengthen the team’s chance to qualify for the semi-finals and Pakistan are aware of the opportunity.
“Pakistan will go all out for the win,” Junaid told The Express Tribune from London on the eve of important clash. “We want to capitalise on the good start and now we are eyeing the semi-finals.”
‘Motivation level unprecedented’
The coach said his team was not under pressure of playing against the hosts.
“We are aware that Great Britain are better than us on paper. They will enjoy home advantage and know the conditions well. But what I feel is that it will be an even contest as our players are motivated enough to counter them. I have never seen this level of motivation among our players in recent times. They are playing good hockey and are focused on the job which is giving me confidence ahead of crucial matches.”
The Olympian, however, said the team will have to avoid costly blunders.
“There’ll be errors and what should be avoided are blunders which may cost us dearly. The team that converts opportunities will win.”
Teamwork behind positive start: captain
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Sohail Abbas credited a disciplined effort for an impressive start.
“Teamwork is the key for us,” said the captain. “We are playing as a unit which is the reason behind our good start. We are looking to carry on the momentum in the remaining matches. The nation’s prayers are behind us and hopefully we will not let them down. The team is working very hard and giving its best.
“The match against the hosts will be tough but we are optimistic of our chances.”
“Teamwork is the key for us. We are playing as a unit which is the reason behind our good start. The nation’s prayers are behind us and hopefully we will not let them down. The team is working very hard.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.
More in SportsCricket: No India-Pakistan matches in Mumbai