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Pakistan a paradox: Charlesworth

Source: PTI
March 09, 2010 09:01 IST
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Pakistan are a paradox who can lose to unheralded teams and upset top sides on their day, feels legendary hockey player and current Australian coach Ric Charlesworth.

Australia came back from one-goal down and scored a late winner in their 2-1 win over Pakistan and Charlesworth said he was not surprised by Pakistan's performance as they are always a tough team to beat.

"When I analyse the statistics of Pool B, I noticed that Pakistan has done very well. They had even beaten a strong Spain. But it is a paradox they can lose to a weak team and can do really well against a top side," Charlesworth said.

"I know they lost to South Africa but that was due to 15 minutes of madness. I think Pakistan will lose once in 20 matches to South Africa. Against India two penalty corner shots hit the crossbar and just three centimetres below would have been goals," the Australian said.

Charlesworth conceded the match could have been a draw but said his team were the dominant side.

"They scored the first goal and that lifted their game. But in the whole match, Pakistan were able to enter our striking circle just 12 or so times while we had more than 25. But we have to do more in the semi-finals," he said.

He said there was no preference which side Pool A toppers Australia want to face in the semi-finals. "We wanted to be in the semi-finals and we are now there. Who we meet in the semi-finals does not matter. We are a good team and we have no problem in playing any team in the semi-finals," said Charlesworth.

Captain Jamie Dwyer conceded that his side had not played the best game they are capable of but hoped that they would lift their game in the final-four stage.

"Of course, we did not play our best today. As a team and as individuals we were not at our best. May be we were through to the semi-finals that played a part," he said.

"But semi-finals are a different level of competition and we would be lifting our game. We are ready to play any team in the semi-finals," said the 2009 FIH World Player of the Year.

Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Zeshan Ashraf said his side deserved a draw but still happy with the 1-2 result.

"We played very well today though we are disappointed with the overall performance in the World Cup. Australia are one of the top teams in the world and coming up with a very good performance against them was very satisfying," he said.

"We missed quite a few scoring chances and we deserved a draw," he added.

Drag-flicker Sohail Abbas conceded lack of consistency has been a long-time problem for Pakistan.

"We can beat any side in our day but it is true we are inconsistent as we had lost to South Africa. But it is part of the game and we have to move on. We played really well today and I could contribute for the side," he added.

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