Vogels's wish

NEW DELHI: Playing the last international tournament of his illustrious career spanning over 14 years, Dutch hockey goalkeeper Guus Vogels wants to sign off with a World Cup win.

Thirty-four year-old Vogels agreed that his team had slipped a little bit in the last edition of the World Cup and the Beijing Olympics, where it had failed to make the semifinals. However, he sounded confident that The Netherlands was getting back into the groove.

“It is difficult to get a top-four finish, but that is the minimum we want. In the Champions Trophy we made some improvement and a few young players have come in,” Vogels told reporters in an interaction here on Wednesday.

More exciting

The two-time World Cupper said the rule change on self-passing had made the sport more exciting. “It is a big improvement, it has brought in more excitement to the game. But, for a goalkeeper it is more difficult to defend now,” he said.

Vogels backed the video referral system as it would help the umpires to make the right decisions.

The Dutch custodian looked forward to watching the clash of India and Pakistan on the opening day on February 28. “I really want to watch that match being played in India, it would be exciting. A lot can happen there,” he said.

Argentine Pedro Ibarra said his team would bank on the individual brilliance of the players. He liked the fast-paced pitch at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium as well as the weather, which was like the climate back home.

Ibarra, a penalty corner specialist, rated Indian drag-flicker Sandeep Singh as one of the best in the world.

Great experience

For 18-year-old German Florian Fuchs, it was a great experience to be playing in a World Cup. One who joined the senior team as early as November last, the youngster said he had no pressure to play in his first big tournament.

Talking on his team's prospects of completing a hat-trick of World titles, Fuchs said, “It is not easy. But the first target would be to reach the semifinals.” The visiting teams were satisfied with the security arrangements.

“I am happy to see a lot of security measures. No player has any problem. The precaution is similar to that of the Olympics. It is not new for me,” said Vogels.

Both Ibarra and South African player Marvin Harper were also satisfied with the tight security in the team hotel as well as the venue. — Sports Reporter

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