Pakistan and their unpredictability factor could once again be on show as they prepare for an-all important quarterfinal clash against Great Britain in the ongoing Hockey World League Semifinal at Antwerp, Belgium on Wednesday.
It will not be wrong to state that Pakistan played their best hockey against India in their Group A encounter. Otherwise, their performances in the tournament have been not too impressive. Against India, they drew the game 2-2.
But, their performance against France and Poland came under criticism despite winning against Poland and drawing level with France. They might consider themselves lucky to have finished third in the group as they were trailing 2-1 in their last group match against France at one point of time.
Muhammad Dilber scored a goal in the 45th minute to level the score, but the French were constantly asking questions from the Pakistani defenders, who were not comfortable with the French players' pace and trickery. France went full tilt in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, but they were helpless to grab the elusive deciding goal.
If Pakistan do not step up their game against Great Britain, their dream of playing in the Rio Olympics will come to an end as the Brits have played some decent hockey in the tournament to finish second in Group B behind Belgium, who topped the group.
Great Britain amassed 8 points from the group stages and did not lose a single game. Amongst all the nations in the Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, it was Great Britain who were the second best team as far as goalscoring is concerned.
Australia, who are ranked number one in the world, scored 26 goals and Great Britain showed their class in front of goal scoring 15. This reflects the quality of the Great Britain forwards, hence Pakistan's defence needs to be on top of their game against such a quality offensive unit.
Compare to GB's record, Pakistan have scored only seven goals all tournament and the men in green are second favourites against the fifth-ranked side in the world.
"We'll go into the quarterfinals feeling confident as we are unbeaten with two draws and two wins, and I think our performances are getting better which is something we'll definitely take into the quarters," The Guardian quoted Alastair Brogdon as saying.
Apart from a spot in the Hockey World League final, both teams are eying a spot for 2016 Rio Olympics, which can be attained by finishing in the top three of this competition.
Where to Watch Live
Pakistan vs Great Britain quarter final clash in the ongoing 2015 Hockey World League semi-final is scheduled for 3:30pm local time (7pm IST, 6:30 PKT, 2:30pm BST) start with live TV coverage in India on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD with live streaming option on starsports.com.
Audience in Pakistan can catch the game live on PTV with live streaming on PTV Online.
Australian viewers can catch the action live on Fox Sports with live streaming option on Foxtel.
Ireland and the UK viewers can follow it live on Sky Sports with live streaming option on Sky Sports.
Viewers in Belgium can watch the game live on Telenet.