World’s top-ranked side Netherlands is relishing the challenge of facing India and Australia during the FIH Hockey Pro League to prepare for the Paris Olympics, said Dutch skipper Thierry Brinkman on Sunday.
The Netherlands men’s hockey team arrived here on Sunday to participate in the Pro League scheduled at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here from February 10 to 16 and Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela from February 19 to 25.
“The preparations have been going really well. We have done a great job in training sessions. We love to be in India and there is a good team spirit among all of us. We are excited for the campaign to begin,” Brinkman said in a Hockey India release.
Five national teams – Ireland, The Netherlands, India, Spain and Australia – will participate in the India leg of the Pro League, facing each other once in Bhubaneswar and once in Rourkela.
“We are curious about Australia, they could be tough opponents for us. Of course, facing India in front of their home crowd will be a challenge, especially in stadiums as vast as the ones in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. So, we are looking forward to those tough battles,” Brinkman said.
“With the Paris Olympics 2024 coming up, this is an important tour for us to test ourselves against strong teams. We hope to have a good tournament.” The Netherlands will play their first match against Ireland on February 10, followed by the highly-anticipated contest against the hosts India on February 11. They will then take on Spain on February 13 and Australia on February 16, before heading to Rourkela.
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