STEPHEN LOOKS AT QUARTER FINALISTS Featured

Thursday, 12 December 2013 13:43

Belgium vs France

Belgium starts as favourites after topping their group that included past winners Germany n Pakistan. Their structure and composure on the ball and they style of play has been very effective and they are one of the strong contenders for the title. Belgium must be doing something right in their development program as in recent years the results of their senior and junior team have been very impressive and their players have very good basics and individual skills and strength on the ball and set pieces to trouble even the so called favourites teams.

However France have impressed in their group beating Argentina one of the favourites with a very determined performance. They are a surprise team in the tournament and have so much flair and creativity with no 8 in the forward outstanding and NO 7 a good and temperamental player who can change the game for them. They are also very good in defence especially as they are strong in their reverse tackles and stealing the ball. If they can play a discipline game and not be affected by the umpiring and physical play of the opponents (like in the previous game vs Australia) they can pull off an upset but Belgium remains the favourite for this tie.

 

Malaysia vs Korea

Malaysia has played well in their pool matches and deserves to top the group with their fighting display, individual skills, discipline and fast breaks. The four senior players Faiz, Fitri, Izad and Firhan formed the core of the team and have played well and showed great leadership to guide and lift the other players. Both the GKs have played well when fielded and whoever fielded will have to be on their toes especially against the PC flicks( Korea 3 ). 

We have to respect the Korean team who fought back against India to win their place in the QF but we should not fear them because if we can play like the first 15 mins in the second half vs England where we were very composed and created opportunities we have a good chance to win the tie and move on.

Discipline and work rate as well as controlling the tempo against the Koreans is important. Also we have to be very alert in the defensive 25 and not giving away any penalty corners.  Likewise we have to make our PC count and if necessary use a set piece to breach the Korean PC defence.

 

Australia vs Germany

The tie of the quarter finals - one was not expected when the draw was out as Germany lost their opening match to Belgium and ended runners up in the group

 The loss to Belgium have made Germany a very dangerous side as the team seemed to take the wake up call and were very focussed as they went about their task to qualify for the quarter finals. Their methodical and clinical finishing from set pieces and chances created make them a very dangerous side.

Australia topped their group and have created many chances in all their group matches with their physical, pressing and attacking play that had their opponents making errors and losing possession. However their opponents who were confident and compose on the ball were always able to create chances against them and Germany has the ability to do this so the tie could go either way.

 The Australian physical game pushes the rules to the limit and in the last game the umpires send off a few of them for their “professional” breaking down the play.

 

 

  Holland vs New Zealand

Holland will be favourites in this tie as they finish comfortably in their group. They will always create goalscoring opportunities with their good understanding and interchanging and passing. They are very good in their set pieces especially in PC attack. However as shown against India and Korea, teams who are disciplined and have good defensive structure and individual skills will be able to create chances especially on the counter and as reflected in the scores of  3-2 in both the matches above. Korea pushed them close to the end and they were lucky to pull through

New Zealand after a bad start against Malaysia showed their fighting qualities especially coming back from 2-0 down at half time against England to draw 2 all and keep their quarter finals hope alive. That they went on to win the last game 1 nil vs S Africa and showed how much they want it. Kane Russell remains their main player and team given a second chance always prove dangerours.

However on paper and overall qualities of the players in the Holland team the Dutch remain favourite in this tie,

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