Proteas must pass ba­sic math­e­mat­ics

Daily News - - SPORT - @ock­ertde

SOUTH AFRICA’S hopes of ad­vanc­ing to the next stage of the Hockey World Cup in In­dia will de­pend on their re­sult against Bel­gium and on that of the other Pool-C match to­mor­row (1.30pm).

The Proteas made a dread­ful start to the tour­na­ment when they suf­fered a 5-0 de­feat to In­dia but pro­duced a plucky per­for­mance against Canada over the week­end.

While they showed some grit in the match, the 1-1 draw made their chances of reach­ing the crossover round and there­after the quar­ter­fi­nals, de­cid­edly more dif­fi­cult.

They could eas­ily have won the match, and it cer­tainly looked like they would when they took the lead in the 43rd minute cour­tesy of Nqo­bile Ntuli, pic­tured.

But they were left de­jected when Canada equalised just two min­utes later to force the stale­mate.

South Africa were the bet­ter side on the day, but this will be of lit­tle com­fort as Canada’s su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence from their 2-1 vic­tory over Bel­gium, has left the Proteas in third place on their group ta­ble.

They ended the Cana­dian clash with 24 cir­cle pen­e­tra­tions, 12 shots at goal and seven penalty goals with only one goal to show for it.

The team will still be go­ing into their Bel­gium clash con­fi­dent of their abil­ity to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties run­away vic­tory could aid South Africa in their pur­suit of reach­ing the crossover round. Canada has a -1 goal dif­fer­ence, while South Africa have -5. South Africa will also have to be at their best against world No 3 Bel­gium, who played out a 1-1 draw with In­dia over the week­end.

The Proteas fin­ished 11th at the pre­vi­ous edi­tion in The Nether­lands where they suf­fered four de­feats, con­ced­ing 21 goals, while they man­aged a goal­less draw against South Korea.

They beat Malaysia 6-2 in the 11th/12th-place play-off match to avoid the wooden spoon.

This is South Africa’s sixth ap­pear­ance at the World Cup and they are hop­ing to im­prove on their pre­vi­ous best 10th-place fin­ishes from 2010 and 1994.

but will have to find a way of turn­ing them into points.There­after, the Proteas will be throw­ing their sup­port be­hind In­dia in their match against Canada where

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