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Hockey preview – 31 July

30 July 2002

It is crossover day as the teams in both the men’s and women’s events battle on Wednesday to decide who joins the outright Pool winners in the semi-finals.

South Africa

South Africa's women's team

First game up (10:00) will be between the women of South Africa and India, a contest between South African power and the fast-flowing skills of the Indian girls.

India’s not very convincing defence could well have problems holding up the attacking threat of Pietie Coetzee and Sophie Mayer, especially the 23-year-old Coetzee, South Africa’s Player of the Year in 1997 who has now notched up 119 goals in 120 international appearances.

India’s coach, Gurdial Banghu, insists, though, that his young side have yet to reveal their full capabilities in this tournament, and if they do click then there could be a shock in store for the South African girls.

But scoring form – South Africa have netted 16 goals compared to India’s three in the competition so far – suggests it will be South Africa lining up against New Zealand in Thursday’s first semi-final.

The England girls will fancy themselves to beat Scotland (12:30) and meet Australia in the other semi-final.

England flagged in the humidity against India in their last game but gave a truer indication of their worth when they crushed Canada 6-1.

Scotland work hard but do not seem able to last the pace. They certainly didn’t against Australia and South Africa, and depended a lot on goalkeeper Tracy Robb to keep the scores against them reasonably respectable. England, with scoring power spread widely through the team, should be too strong for them.

In the men’s event, New Zealand will play Canada (18:30). Canada are tough and felt cheated when they lost to England in their pool game, but they only won one point in their pool and had a minus goal difference.

New Zealand, thanks to their new short corner secret weapon, Hayden Shaw, the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals, look certain to be the team to go through to face Pakistan in Friday’s semi-final.

With Australia waiting in the other semi-final, England will battle it out with South Africa (16:00).

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