Belgium Hockey team arrives in India. (Source: Hockey India)
Seeking to win the title, world number three Belgium and the fourth ranked Netherlands arrived in the city for the upcoming World Cup. Clubbed in Pool D, also called the ‘Pool of Death’ with heavyweights Germany, Pakistan and Malaysia, the Dutch are looking for tough matches right from the start.
“We need to make sure we keep our heads down and play our best every match,” asserted Max Caldas, head coach of the Netherlands.
Speaking of the team’s excitement to be back in the city, experienced player Billy Baker said, “We have won almost every match we have played this season and we have also had really tough preparations for the tournament. “We are aware of the Bhubaneswar crowds who come in large numbers and we want to enjoy playing in front of them and also use their support to feel motivated.”
The Netherlands begin their campaign on December 1. World No.3 Belgium too arrived few minutes after the Netherlands players touched down. “We are arriving after three months of solid preparations. We pretty much trained full time and the preparations were heavy. The guys are really fit and sharp. We are excited to get going,” said Belgium skipper Thomas Briels.
Belgium are grouped with hosts India, Canada and South Africa in Pool B and begin their campaign against Canada on November 28. England and New Zealand too arrived late Friday night and were already on the pitch Saturday to get a feel of the newly-laid turf at the Kalinga Stadium.