New Delhi:Indian team is currently one of the strongest sides in last 10 years and they are capable of winning the hockey World Cup, England captain Barry Middletone said on Tuesday.
Barry, whose side will play India on March 6 in Pool B, said the support from the home crowd will make the Rajpal Singh-led team all the more difficult to beat.
"I agree that the current Indian side is perhaps the strongest side in the last 10 years. They are a balanced side and they are fit. Against Pakistan, they (India) played a fast and attacking game. They can go all the way in the tournament," he said after England beat South Africa 6-4 in a Pool B match here.
"Moreover, the support from the home crowd will definitely boost their morale. The crowd has been fantastic so far and the atmosphere has been good. So, we will have to play our best against India if we want to beat them," the England captain said.
About today's match, Barry said his side played very well in the second half after being tied 2-2 at the breather. "It was a tough match but we played really well in the second half to score four goals. We are improving every match," he said.
Asked which one is tougher between today's match and their first game against Australia on Sunday which they won 3-2, Barry said, "Australia are second ranked team and one of the favourites. So it looked like that match is tougher but it is equally tough against South Africa today also."
South Africa captain Austin Smith rued that they could not sustain the first half tempo in the second session.
"We played really well in the first half but failed to sustain the momentum in the second session. Three goals in quick time in the second session did us in," he said.
"We have to really play well in the remaining matches against Australia, India and Pakistan who are very strong sides. The next game is against Australia which will be really tough. We would want to at least get a point," he added.