KARACHI: A win against Australia today is what the Pakistan hockey team needs to qualify for the Olympics semi-finals.
The Greenshirts, who made an emphatic comeback after a drubbing at the hands of Great Britain (GB) with a 5-4 win over South Africa, are confident ahead of the crucial clash against the opponents, yet to lose in the event. Pakistan are placed third with seven points, ahead of Spain on goal-difference, while Australia and GB occupy the first and second places respectively.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan team management was keeping things simple.
“We know we need a win and we’re going for it,” Pakistan coach Khwaja Junaid told The Express Tribune. “They are tough and mighty but not invincible. They were held by GB after a 3-0 lead and this shows they’re vulnerable. Our players have regained confidence after the South Africa win.” The last two encounters between the two sides in 2011 saw contrasting results with Pakistan edging out Australia 4-3 in a four-nation final, while the defeat was avenged with a 6-1 thrashing in the Champions Trophy a month later in December.
‘Pakistan must play in Asian style’
Meanwhile, former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui said that aggression may help Pakistan shock the world champions.
“The team should play attacking hockey — the Asian style,” said Islahuddin. “They should try to dominate them from the start. But the team also needs to improve their defence.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.