Home Sports CWG men’s hockey: India need to crack England defence

CWG men’s hockey: India need to crack England defence


New Delhi : India need to ratchet up their game and show more discipline Tuesday when they face their nemesis England in the semi-finals of the men’s hockey competition at the Commonwealth Games here.

India’s 7-4 win against Pakistan in the league phase Sunday has understandably caused a big buzz around the team. However, England would be a vastly better organized rival than Pakistan and the onus will be on India to crack the code.

In contrast, the other semi-final — between Australia and New Zealand — is expected to go the former’s way given the kind of form they are in.

Also, World champions Australia are keen on finishing the year with a triple, having won the World Cup and the Champions Trophy this summer.

Over two years ago, virtually the same England team under the Great Britain banner, denied India a spot in the Beijing Olympics with a 2-0 win in the final of the qualifying tournament in Santiago, Chile, by adopting a defensive posture, and it would be no different Tuesday.

If Pakistan offered a lot of space and freedom for India to go on the rampage, then England would resort to tight marking in a bid to choke the rival forwards.

Hence, patience would be the key for India, something that was missing in Santiago.

In the World Cup at the same venue this year, England came through 3-2 and again adopted defensive tactics to frustrate the Indians.

India team coach Jose Brasa wouldn’t comment on the semi-final as he said that the triumph over Pakistan was to be savoured first before looking to the next game.

The other semi-final should see the Aussies yet again adopting hustling tactics to break down the Kiwis who will be under pressure from the start.

The Australian forward-line offers plenty of variety and options that make them dangerous when in the attack. Though they tend to leave the backdoor open in the process, the Kiwis will have to do a lot of running to penetrate.

“We have come here with the intention of winning the gold medal and it is a typical Aussie trait to have aggression,” said Australian team coach Ric Charlesworth while giving an overview of his champion outfit.