Bhubaneswar: India will look to continue their good run under new coach Sjoerd Marijne when they take on defending champions Australia in their opening match in the Hockey World League (HWL) Final at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.
India finished third in the last edition of the meet, losing to the Netherlands 2-3 on penalties after both teams were locked 5-5 in regulation time. Under new coach Sjoerd Marijne, a young Indian team would be playing at home for the first time. "No pressure, nothing at all. Before the match I will prepare them to the best of my ability but I cannot control the outcome of the game. So when I walk out onto the field on Friday, I will just enjoy the crowd," the coach had said when asked about pressure before the first game.
To name a few, India have the likes of Harmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Sumit Varun Kumar among the young faces for this competition. "All the young players have potential and that's why they are with the team. Now it's normal for most of the youngsters to reach a high level and then fall. But what's important is how they cope with the fall and learn from it because with all the expectations, it's normal for them to fall at times," Marijne said.
The Asia Cup victory was the perfect start to the tenure of Marijne, who will be hoping his side can reproduce that excellent form. The winners of the event in Bhubaneswar will also guarantee qualification for the Men's Champions Trophy 2018, which will take place in the Netherlands in June/July. The World Ranking points are also on offer, assigned to teams depending on their final position in the standings.