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Hockey: ‘Speedy’ Dutch geared up for Hero World League Final in New Delhi

Netherlands coach Paul van Ass (centre) has spoken of “great” preparation ahead of the inaugural Hero World League Final, which starts in New Delhi on Friday. Photos: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

Netherlands coach Paul van Ass (centre) has spoken of his side’s “great” preparation ahead of the inaugural Hero World League Final in New Delhi, which starts with all eight teams competing on Friday. Photos: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

January 6, 2014: Netherlands coach Paul van Ass has said that the team’s “speed” will be a key factor in the upcoming Hero World League Final in India, where the 2012 Olympic silver medallists will open their Pool B campaign against Argentina on Friday.


Netherlands, the world’s third-ranked team, will also play second-ranked Australia and fifth-ranked Belgium in the pool stage of the eight-nation event, which will be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi from January 10-18.


Olympic champions Germany, the world’s top-ranked side, are favourites in Pool A, which also features England, New Zealand and hosts India.


However, the Dutch coach is confident of his own team’s chances after an excellent lead-up to the finale of the inaugural World League, which began with qualifying rounds in 2012.


“The preparation is going great and the boys are looking forward to the challenge. The team will be playing against Argentina, Australia and Belgium, and we are aware that the latter two are very strong teams and we have to play strictly as per strategy,” Van Ass said.
“We have to keep ourselves fit for the clashes against Australia and Belgium. We are working on our speed, which we will utilise against them during the match.”


Van Ass said the squad (listed bottom) contains the core of the side that reached the final of London 2012, while a notable inclusion in the training squad is Van Ass’s son Seve, who sustained a fractured jaw in a league match in November.


“The team composition is not that different from the Olympic team, though there are a couple of injuries that have to be taken care of. We want to play good and challenging hockey, and enjoy as the league progresses.”


Meanwhile, New Zealand head coach Colin Batch is eyeing a top-six finish in the tournament, despite an imposing opening match against Germany.


New Zealand coach Colin Batch has targeted a top-six finish in the eight-team tournament.

New Zealand coach Colin Batch has targeted a top-six finish in the eight-team tournament.

“The team is trying a new playing composition with some new players and we aim at finishing in the top six at the end of the tournament,” said Batch, the former Australia international.


“Our opening match is against Germany, so the match will not be an easy one for us. The boys have worked on their passes and techniques of tackling the opposition, which will help us win matches during the league.”


Batch, who was previously head coach of Belgium, said acclimatising to the weather conditions in the city remained a challenge.


“It is cold in the night and warm during the day, and playing under such conditions can prove to be tricky.”


Young defender Kane Russell, 21, has been rewarded for his form at the recent Hero Junior World Cup in New Delhi, where his seven goals have helped earn him a place in the Black Sticks squad (listed below) for the World League Final.


Captain Dean Couzins hoped that some of the team’s new addition would help them in their pool matches.


“We are working hard to improve our technique and looking forward to our matches against Germany, India and England,” Couzins said. “We have come in with some new players and hope this will help us improve our game during the tournament.”


New Zealand squad

No. Player (caps)                   Age (Born)     

2. Cory Bennett (22)              22 (12-07-1991)

4. Nick Haig (123)                   26 (12-03-1987)

6. Simon Child (183)               25 (16-04-1988)

8. Dean Couzins (c) (290)      32 (09-06-1981)

9. Blair Hilton (103)                 24 (28-08-1989)

11. Jacob Smith (26)              22 (03-04-1991)

13. Marcus Child (44)             22 (02-03-1991)

16. Hamish McGregor (GK) (23) 25 (30-01-1988)

18. Phil Burrows (306)            33 (25-04-1980)

19. Alex Shaw (30)                 23 (23-01-1990)

20. Devon Manchester (GK) (18) 24 (11-11-1989)

21. Kane Russell (18)             21 (22-04-1992)

22. Blair Tarrant (85)               23 (11-05-1990)

24. Arun Panchia (114)           24 (22-04-1989)

25. Shea Mcaleese (185)       29 (07-08-1984)

27. Stephen Jenness (91)     23 (07-06-1990)

29. Hugo Inglis (111)              22 (18-01-1991)

31. Steve Edwards (159)       27 (25-01-1986)


Netherlands squad

No. Player (caps)

1. Jaap Stockmann (GK) (86)

2. Pirmin Blaak (GK) (9)

3. Floris van der Linden (10)

4. Klaas Vermeulen (84)

5. Marcel Balkestein (91)

7. Wouter Jolie (139)

8. Billy Bakker (83)

10. Valentin Verga (80)

11. Jeroen Hertzberger (131)

12. Robbert Kemperman (101)

13. Sander Baart (58)

18. Jan-Willem Buissant (8)

19. Bob de Voogd (44)

22. Rogier Hofman (150)

23. Sander de Wijn (42)

24. Robert van der Horst (204)

25. Seve van Ass (42)

27. Constantijn Jonker (41)

28. Oliver Polkamp (10)

30. Mink van der Weerden (43)


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Source: FIH, Times of India

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