Netherlands chief coach Jeroen Delmee believes his team will need to overcome inexperience as it aims to win its fourth trophy at the Men’s hockey World Cup, beginning here on January 13.
Three-time world champions Netherlands arrived in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. The silver medallists of the previous edition, who are being led by Thierry Brinkman, will complete their final preparations here before travelling to Rourkela where they will face Malaysia in their first match on January 14.
The Dutch are one of the most decorated hockey teams in the world, having won the trophy in 1973, 1990, and 1998, and reaching the finals in the last two editions.
But coach Delmee said on arrival that he will see how his boys are able to overcome the challenge of inexperience.
“The biggest challenge will be the inexperience in the team and may be the surprises we could face in the World Cup. It will be interesting to see how we will overcome the challenges in the tournament. I have full confidence in my team,” said Delmee.
Netherlands is placed in Pool C, along with Chile, Malaysia and New Zealand. After its match against Malaysia, they will face New Zealand in Rourkela on January 16 and round off its group stage campaign against Chile in Bhubaneswar on January 19.
“I think we will have to fight from game to game and then we will see where we end up in the tournament. Our first target is to reach the quarter-final and then make the semis.
“We will then see how things go on in the final. Of course, if we reach the final then we will hope to turn it around and win the tournament. However, we have a completely different team this time and you cannot compare the current players from the last edition’s team,” added Delmee.
The 16 teams competing in the tournament are Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, India, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, England, France, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Chile, and Wales.
Captain Brinkman said the team will take a very short break before getting into the rigours of training.
“The last few months in the build-up to the World Cup have been pretty good for us. The team is completely ready. We have just reached India and will have some rest before starting our preparation for the first match. It is amazing to be here again.” He believes midfielders Jorrit Croon and Jonas de Geus, along with goalkeeper Pirmin Blakk, are exciting prospects and hoped they would light up the tournament.