India hopeful of beating South Africa for semi-final berth
India will be looking to erase memories of their loss to Australia when they face-off against South Africa in their last group match for a place in the semi-finals of the men's hockey competition of the 2014 Commonwealth Games here Thursday.
Against South Africa, it is a do-or-die match for India as a win will help them finish among the top two in the group and qualify for the semi-final.
India did well in their last group match against Australia but lost 2-4. It was a replay of the 2010 final but this time India managed a better scoreline that might help them forget the 0-8 loss in the final in Delhi.
On paper, the Indians are much better than the South Africans who were thrashed 0-6 by Australia.
Both India and South Africa have two wins each to their credit and six points each in their kitty. Their only losses have been against Australia.
Having been praised for their last performance against Australia, India now look forward to a confident show against South Africa.
South African captain Austin Smith will be the player to watch out for because of the experience he brings with him while for India it will be penalty corner specialist Rupinder Pal Singh.
India captain Sardar Singh said all the players have been performing really well.
"The team has enough potential to take on any of the opponents and change the course of the game. Our next match against South Africa is a crucial match and we look forward to making our way into the semi-finals," he said.
India coach Terry Walsh said the team has shown continuous improvement in the tournament.
"South Africa has some fine qualities in attack and we will be required to close down all avenues in their build up. A semi-final position is at stake but more importantly our playing qualities will need to be in place for a good result. India is potentially able to have a significant impact on this tournament. This match will be a good guide to our abilities," he said.
(Posted on 30-07-2014)