SA hockey men must beat Pakistan

2010-03-06 00:00

SOUTH Africa will have to shake off the memories of a horrible defeat to Australia’s Kookaburras just over 48 hours earlier when they meet Pakistan in their fourth of five Pool B matches at the Hockey World Cup in New Delhi, India today.

The match will be televised live on SuperSport 5 from 3 pm.

South Africa took Spain close before going down 4-2 in the World Cup opening match, then lost 6-4 to England in a thrilling encounter before the 12-0 record World Cup defeat to the World Cup favourites on Thursday.

Pakistan, a side blessed with individuals boasting heaps of natural talent but prone to let the team cohesion down at times, lost 4-1 to India in their first match, beat Spain 2-1 in their second outing and lost 5-2 to Pool B’s unbeaten log leaders England.

Despite their basement position on the Pool B log, captain Austin Smith’s men from South Africa still have the chance to improve their world ranking from its current 13th should they finish higher than the last-place 12th in this 12-team competition.

And should they beat Pakistan and get a win against India on Monday — a tall order given the circumstances — an extremely respectable final-place finish in the middle four positions is possible. Positions five to eight is their incentive rather than the last four spots of ninth to 12th, but only the most reckless gambler would wager that this might happen.

In Yesterday’s Pool A action, New Zealand’s Black Sticks beat South Korea 2-1, the Netherlands beat Canada 6-0 and Germany, the defending champions, outlasted Argentina 4-3.

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