Charlesworth predicts tough game

Last Updated 10 March 2010, 17:29 IST

“They are likely to play a cautious game; we will have to handle that. Both are very good teams and the outcome is very difficult to predict, I expect a tight, tough match,” said Charlesworth after a practice session at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium on Wednesday.

“In the past, they have been very cautious against us. Sometimes, that can win you tournaments. But if a team plays a half-court game, it might lead to a war of attrition,” said the former Australian captain.

The Aussies have a superb record against the Dutch, having won nine straight games in major tournaments but Charlesworth said that meant nothing. “It only makes the other team more determined. And sometimes, the score is not the actual reflection of what really happened on the pitch.”

Charlesworth had only admiration for the Netherlands team, led by the inimitable Teun de Nooijer.

“He is a brilliant player, perhaps the best I have seen. In fact, the Netherlands is an all-round team and they are more experienced. Half our team is new, that is a challenge. But the team is developing and they have made a lot of progress in the last one year.
We can play with speed and that is an advantage.” Charlesworth admitted Taeke Taekema’s drag-flicks could cause some concern. “But we have our own weapons in that area.”

Asked whether the pitch evened things out a bit in the penalty corner zone, Charle-sworth reiterated his earlier comments on the surface. “I have always said the best matches have to be played on the best surface. If fifty percent of your chances go awry, then it becomes difficult. It’s a pity.”

Good chance
As they prepared to take on Germany, England coach Jason Lee said his team had as good a chance as any other team in the tournament.

England’s only win in five World Cup meetings with Germany came in 1986, when they reached the final for the only time. They beat the Germans in the European championship final but suffered a 2-3 defeat in their last meeting, at the Champions Trophy in December.

This time, they will be without their influential defender Richard Mantell, and Lee said it would be a blow. “We have missed him on a few occasions in the past. Mantell’s long hits helped us build our start from the defence but now the strategy will have to change a bit – we may have to start from the midfield,” he said.

“We are also worried about the inexperienced attack though. It has led to counters from the other end.”

(Published 10 March 2010, 17:29 IST)

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