Fuchs: India, Argentina can be dangerous in Rio

According to the German striker, Florian Fuchs, teams such as India and Argentina have improved a lot and can pose a serious challenge to his side at the Olympics.

Florian Fuchs... “Teams like Argentina and India have improved, especially after 2012; they are very fast. You can be beaten by them any time."   -  Getty Images

Even as Germany are aiming to win the men’s hockey title at the Rio Olympics and in the process becoming the second country after India to secure a hat-trick of gold medals in the quadrennial event, ace German striker Florian Fuchs is of the view that improved teams such as India and Argentina can pose a serious challenge to the two-time defending champions.

Argentina surprised everyone by bagging the bronze medal at the 2014 World Cup in The Hague and India claimed the bronze medal in the Hockey World League Final in Raipur last year to break a 33-year jinx of not winning a medal in an elite competition.

Fuchs, who was part of the German side that won the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Champions Trophy here, expected the Rio Games to be a tough affair.

“The Olympics is very challenging, so you never know whether it is going to be gold, silver or bronze or no medal. But the big goal is to win a medal again. That’s what we are working for,” said Fuchs, who is playing for Dabang Mumbai in the Hockey India League (HIL).

The 24-year-old lanky forward rated Argentina and India as dangerous sides in Rio. “Teams like Argentina and India have improved, especially after 2012; they are very fast. They have become really good teams that play good hockey and are placed in the top-seven. You can be beaten by them any time. These are very dangerous teams. That’s why the Olympics is going to be really challenging,” he said.

Even though Germany had been inconsistent in their showing (finishing sixth in the 2014 World Cup and seventh in the 2015 HWL Final), Fuchs hoped his country would peak at the right time for the Olympics.

“In 2012 we worked really well and everyone had just one goal, and in the end we won the gold medal. It has to be the priority and we have to work on that much harder than in the past.”

Waiting to play in Dabang Mumbai’s first match of the HIL against Kalinga Lancers at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday, Fuchs said he was thrilled to see each field goal fetching two in the opening match.

“It was an exciting match not just for the players but also for the spectators. It was sad for the Kalinga Lancers; they conceded two goals in the last minute. For the first match 8-6 sounds really amazing...It pays off as a striker when you work for field goals.

“We have to wait until the end of the tournament to know whether it is a good rule for international hockey,” said Fuchs.