India gears up for hockey World Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The 11th Hockey World Cup gets underway in the German city of Monchengladbach next Wednesday with India opening their campaign against Germany.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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New Delhi:

The 11th Hockey World Cup gets underway in the German city of Monchengladbach next Wednesday with India opening their Campaign against hosts and holders Germany. It has been 31 years since India won one of Hockey's most prestigious tournaments, and having failed to make the final four since their win in Malaysia in 1975, the team will be hoping to at least improve on their 10th place finish from four years ago. When the Indian Hockey team steps onto the turf at Warsteiner Hockey Park in Monchengladbach next Wednesday, they will certainly be feeling the pressure. The Indian Hockey Federation in association with the Premier Hockey League on Friday announced a cash incentive of Rs 1 crore if the team lifts the coveted World Cup on September 17. The IHF believes that this particular team has it in them to finish on the podium for the first time since 1975. "The top 6 teams in the world are all capable of beating each other and winning the trophy," said KPS Gill, President, IHF. Introducing technology Following in the footsteps of the IHF, who have sent a video analyst along with the World Cup team for the first time, the PHL has also decided to embrace technology. Its third season, which gets underway in January, will see a video analyst at hand to help the teams. They will be using the same technology that the Indian Cricket team has been for the last four years. "They are talking about a video analyst, but every coach in the world is a video analyst. Twenty years ago, the South Korean coach use to have videotapes of the teams his country had not even played, which was of great use in the long term." "It's a good thing that we have done but it is probably a bit too late," said K Arumugum, Senior Hockey Journalist. The general perception is that these sudden changes in hockey have much to do with FIH President Els van Breda Viersen who is in India this week. But it would be interesting to see whether Rs 25 lakh for a fourth place finish to Rs 1 crore for winning the tournament will be incentive enough for the team bringing back the World Cup to India - this despite India being in the same group as the likes of Germany and Holland.

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