Former Australia hockey player Glenn Turner feels his country, reigning champion Belgium and Netherlands are the favourites to win the upcoming men’s hockey World Cup but warned against taking Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist India lightly in its own backyard.
“I think Australia has a big chance. It recently won the Commonwealth Games. It are a quality team. I know how they train and they train to win. Its basics and fundamentals are so good and I think that is what sets it apart. It will be up there, for sure,” said Turner, a member of the Kookaburras’ back-to-back World Cup-winning campaigns in 2010 and 2014.
“I think Belgium too (is a contender), because it is on a roll. It is hard to beat at the moment in any game. And, I think the Netherlands should be up there too, and if they are able to match their potential that will be really good.
“India is at home. I would love to see it do well,” added Turner, who had plied his trade in the erstwhile Hockey India League.
Speaking about his experience of playing in India, the two-time Olympian said, “I love India. I loved playing in the Hockey India League. It is amazing to see the rise of Indian hockey, and it’s time for them to take the next step. World Cup is at home, a huge advantage, and I would love to see them go a little bit further.”
Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, host India, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, England, France, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Chile and Wales are the 16 teams competing in the tournament, to be jointly hosted by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29.