To start-off their campaign on an optimistic note in the 35th Hero Hockey Men’s Champions Trophy 2014, the XVII Asiad Champions India will take on Germany in the last match of Day 1 of the tournament, slated to be played on December 6, 2014 at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. Earlier in the day, World Champions Australia will start the proceedings against England in first match followed by Belgium taking on Pakistan in Pool A matches and Netherlands will play Argentina in the first match of Pool B.
Led by midfielder Sardar Singh, India have been playing some good hockey in the last few tournaments and got some excellent results, including a glittery gold finish in the 17th Asian Games, a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games and a tournament win over the World Champions- Australia in the recently concluded tour.
With a lone bronze medal finish in the 1982 Champions Trophy, India ended up fourth in the last edition of the tournament played at Melbourne, Australia. On the contrary, FIH rank 3 – Germany Men’s Hockey Team is one of the most successful sides of the world. Winning the Olympics gold four times, they also boast of nine Champions Trophy gold, out of the total tally of 22 medals in the tourney. Germany has to its name two Hockey world Cup gold as well. It is also the second most successful national team in the Hockey Champions Trophy, next only to Australia.
While the Indian Men Hockey Team is basking in the confidence of a very successful year gone by, Germany is all upbeat and completely ready to take on India in their first game of the championship. Prior to this, India and Germany have clashed twice in the last two years during the Hero Hockey World League 2014 where once India held Germany for 3-3, resulting in a draw and in the second game defeated Germany in a close match by a score of 5-4. This makes the impending clash further more out of the ordinary to watch out for.
Speaking ahead of the scheduled clash with Germany, India Captain Sardar Singh said, “The preparations are in full swing and the entire team is working really hard to put up a good show tomorrow. Being the Olympics champion, Germany is a tough team to crack but we are confident of giving them a strong fight and put forth a sturdy challenge.”
Convinced of a fine performance by the team, Director High Performance Roelant Oltmans said, “The boys are all fit and the team is in good shape. They are full of poise which will help them to tackle the opponent strongly. It is a vital game for us and the team will be putting in all efforts to play a good hockey and win the opening match.”
Commenting on the first match, German Captain Moritz Fürste said, “We have come here just two days ago and are still trying to get involved to everything here. We play our first match against host India who will certainly have the home advantage here at the Kalinga Stadium. I expect the stadium to be packed with an amazing crowd and we will play our best hockey, aiming to start with a victory in the tournament.”
German coach Markus Weise appeared confident of his team and said, “We are here with the strongest available side. While many of the players are young, they are hungry for a victory which will act as a benefit and will add to the power packed performance of the team. We are looking at doing well in the upcoming tournament and winning the quarter finals, semis and eventually the finals. ”