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Australia confident of reclaiming the Cup again

Three-time champions and world no.1 Australia are confident of reclaiming the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup to be jointly hosted by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29.

Australia last won the title in 2014 at The Hague, Netherlands where they defended their crown.

In the last World here, Australia had settled for a bronze medal.

“Our players are really excited to be here and we have big ambitions in the tournament,” Australia captain Eddie Ockenden said after arriving here.

“We want to do well and have confidence that we will be able to win the title. Our team has a lot of experience and it will be really crucial for us.”

Australia, who begin their campaign against France here on January 13, had won their first title in 1986 defeating the hosts England.

Australia coach Colin Batch too expressed optimism, saying they have strong fundamentals to win the title this time around.

“We have a really good team and our players are prolific goal scorers which is really important as it helps you to win matches.

“At the same time, our defence is also really good and we often manage to restrict the opposition from scoring. So, our fundamentals are strong and that makes us a really good side,” he said.

Batch said they are eager to take on hosts India in the knockout stages of the tournament if everything goes according to plan.

“Our players are also excited to face India as they are a totally different side at home. They play good hockey at home and get extra motivation from the crowd. It will be tough to beat India if we play against them.”

England, who are placed alongside India, Spain and Wales in Pool D, also arrived here on Friday for the marquee event.

England, whose best finish in the tournament is a silver medal in the 1986 edition, will open their campaign against Wales on January 13 in Rourkela.

After that, England will take on India January 15 in Rourkela, before moving back to Bhubaneswar, where they end their group-stage on January 19 against Spain.

“I think we are a contender for the title. There is a lot of belief in our camp as everyone is confident about their abilities and we have also trained well in the last few months.

“We went on many tours and played some top teams like the Netherlands and Argentina which has made us ready,” said England captain David Ames.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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