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Expert view: India's chances of qualifying for hockey World Cup


Updated: June 11, 2013, 8:41 AM IST
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Expert view: India's chances of qualifying for hockey World Cup
While the men's team coach said his boys are very 'keen', the women's coach said his focus is on improvement as he termed qualification a 'bonus'.

The Indian men's and women's hockey squads are already in Rotterdam - busy with last-minute tune-ups before the FIH Hockey World League semi-finals are whistled off. But this round three of the League is worth much more - it's the entry point for the 2014 World Cup.

Sixteen teams will play two semi-finals, each of which will be an eight-team competition. The top three teams from each of the two events - at Rotterdam, Netherlands from June 13 to 23 and at Johor Bahru, Malaysia from June 29 to July 7 - will qualify for the World Cup.

The Indian teams will feature in the first semi-final to be held at Rotterdam, and this is what the team's think-tank feels about their chances.

Roelant Oltmans, High Performance Director

"The men's competition is really tough, but the players should believe in their abilities, be confident. If we can play confidently on a consistent basis, there is no reason why we shouldn't qualify. I can assure you that we will fight our hearts out to be among the three top teams."

Michael Nobbs, Head Coach (men)

"It's a very tough competition. All the teams want to go through. We are equally keen and will give it our best shot. We are good in attack but need to work on our defence."

Sardar Singh, Captain (men):

"We go there with a very good chance but it depends on how tough we play, how we concentrate. We should be particularly careful about not giving away easy balls to our opponents."

Neil Hawgood, Head Coach (women)

"We'll be playing teams ranked No. 1, 3, 5, 7. So it's going to be really tough. I don't expect anything out of the ordinary. Qualification will be a bonus. I am particularly keen to see if the little things we have worked on have changed or not."

Ritu Rani, Captain (women)

"We had three-months of training camps, which included a foreign trip. We have worked a lot on our fitness and defence. I hope we can deliver this time."

First Published: June 11, 2013, 8:41 AM IST
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