Bhubaneswar: India hockey team will face defending champions Australia as they begin their campaign in the Hockey World League Final campaign at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium.
Boosted with confidence after lifting the Asia Cup Hockey trophy, the team will aim to start this tournament also on a positive note on Friday, where eight nations will fight for the title.
Talking to ANI ahead of the event, India’s chief hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne said that he has full confidence in the team.
“For me this tournament is same as the Asia Cup, just that the opponents are different here,” Marijne said.
He added, “I have a lot of confidence in my team. Of course there will be mistakes but it is about how we will do with them. We have trained well and had a good camp so we are looking forward to play Australia.”
India is placed in Pool B in the event along with World Champions Australia, Germany and England.
In Pool A, Olympic Champions Argentina will take on Belgium, Netherlands and Spain.
As the reigning Champions Trophy, Oceania Cup, Hockey World League and Commonwealth Games title holders, few can dispute that Australia’s Kookaburras are one of the most formidable teams in the game and will be considered as favourites to top Pool B.
But, fuelled by a passionate home crowd and fresh from their superb title success at the Asia Cup in October, India are also expected to be a serious threat to Australia.
In addition to being crowned Hockey World League champions, the winners of the event in Bhubaneswar will also guarantee qualification for the Men’s Champions Trophy 2018, which will take place in the Netherlands in June/July.