The upcoming edition of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup is just around the corner and on Friday three-time champions Australia touched down in Bhubaneswar. England Captain David Ames expresses that his team is a strong contender ahead of the World Cup.
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The World Cup, set to be held in Rourkela and Bhubaneswar will be held from January 13th – 29th. On Friday (Sat. 6), the Australian men’s hockey team and the England men’s hockey team received a warm welcome at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.
While former champions Australia are eyeing a fourth title, England are looking to win their maiden title. England’s best finish has been a Silver medal in 1986, when they hosted the tournament.
England, who are placed in Pool D along with India, Spain and Wales, will begin their final preparations in Bhubaneswar, before moving to Rourkela, where they open their campaign against Wales on 13th January.
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After that, England will take on the Indian Men’s Hockey Team on 15th January, also in Rourkela, before moving back to Bhubaneswar, where they end their group-stage on January 19th against Spain.
“I think we are a contender for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela trophy. 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 for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela,” said England’s Captain David Ames told Hockey India.
England have Paul Revington as their Head Coach, and will be hoping to improve on their record at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
“The team is in the right frame of mind ahead of the big tournament as everyone is excited to play in India. It’s always a fantastic opportunity to take part in the World Cup. The team has been in good form over the last one year and we will look to repeat the same good performance in the tournament,” said Revington.
On the other hand, Australia, who are also known as the Kookaburras, are in Pool A along with Argentina, France and South Africa, and will kick start their tournament in Bhubaneswar on the 13th of January against France, before playing Argentina on January 16th, at the Kalinga Stadium.
Australia’s captain Eddie Ockenden is confident of a good showing in the tournament. He stated, “Our players are really excited to be here and we have big ambitions in the tournament. We want to do well and have confidence that we will be able to win the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela title. Our team has a lot of experience and it will be really crucial for us.”
Australia, who won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2010 (New Delhi) and 2014 (The Hague, Netherlands), had bagged their first title in 1986 (England) when they defeated England. They will complete their group stage fixtures on January 20th when they play South Africa in Rourkela.
Speaking about the tournament, Head Coach Colin Batch said, “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’s scoring. So, our fundamentals are strong and that makes us a really good side.”
“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 in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela,” David Ames signed off.
Read More: Hockey World Cup: Tournament Preview