Following its great escape against Argentina, Australia will pay attention to its defence even while trying to record a big-margin win over South Africa and finish atop Pool-A in the Hockey World Cup at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium on Friday.
With the teams moving in here for their remaining pool matches, Argentina, which is tied on four points with Australia but is at the second place on goal difference, will look to overcome a strong challenge from a spirited France by maintaining its intensity.
The Kookaburras faced the heat against a well-structured Argentina before relying on Blake Govers’ individual brilliance to manage a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Against South Africa, Australia – comprising other competent players such as Eddie Ockenden, Tom Craig, Jake Whetton, Jeremy Hayward and Aran Zalewski – will go full steam ahead.
“We played South Africa in the Commonwealth Games and we played them recently. We know enough about them. They are a good counter-attacking team,” said Australia coach Colin Batch on Thursday.
South Africa will be keen to give its best even though young midfielder Senzwesihle Nagubane, who injured his lower lip during a training session, is likely to miss the action.
Argentina will take heart from its sensational performance against World No.1 Australia and will try to check a young French side, which posted a fine 2-1 victory over South Africa.
Apart from stopping the dashing French attackers, the South Americans will have to guard against well-built drag-flicker and France captain Victor Charlet, who can unleash some power-packed flicks.
While experienced hands Matias Rey and Agustin Mazzilli provide stability in defence and midfield, an efficient forward line consisting of Maico Cassella, Lucas Toscani and Michael Ferreiro give Argentina the advantage.
“France is a good side. Our defence will be tight against them,” said Argentina coach Mariano Ronconi.