They are placed in a tough Pool B in the Hero Hockey World League (HWL) Final, but London Olympics silver medallist Netherlands are all geared up for the tournament with head coach Paul Vanass insisting that his wards are prepared for the upcoming challenge.
Netherlands have been clubbed alongside Argentina, Australia and Belgium in Pool B in the eight-nation event to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here from January 10-18, while Pool A consists of reigning Olympic champions Germany, England, hosts India and New Zealand.
“The preparation for the run up to the tournament is going great and the boys are looking forward to the challenge which starts next Friday,” Vanass said after a practice session on Saturday.
“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.
“The team has played against them in the past and we have to keep ourselves fit for the clash against Australia and Belgium. We are working on our speed and which we will utilise against them during the match,” he said.
“The team composition is not different from the Olympic team, though there are a couple of injuries that has to be taken care of. We are among the top 8 teams in the world and want to play good and challenging hockey and enjoy as the league progresses,” Vanass added.
Netherlands are one of the favourites to win the tournament and skipper Robert vander Horst said they are looking forward to utilise their vast experience of playing on Indian soil.
“This is our fourth visit to India and we enjoy playing here. We are in the top 8 hockey playing team of the world and we will try to live up to the expectations of being a strong team. My advice to the boys is to enjoy the league and to not come under any pressure,” he said.
Netherlands will open their campaign against Argentina on the first day of the tournament on January 10.