Holders Germany not too optimistic about title defence

Updated: 28 February 2010 10:09 IST

Double defending champions Germany are tipped as one the favourites to win the hockey World Cup starting Sunday but captain Maximillan Muller said with a young

Holders Germany not too optimistic about title defence

New Delhi:

Double defending champions Germany are tipped as one the favourites to win the hockey World Cup starting Sunday but captain Maximillan Muller said with a young and inexperienced side at his disposal, a semifinal finish would be a great result for them.

Muller said the German team is in the rebuilding phase and has only three players -- Matthias Witthaus, Moritz Furste and Jan-Marco Montag -- in their 18-member squad from the last edition of the mega event in Monchengladbach.

"We don't have any pressure as we are rebuilding the team. That's why we don't say we will win the World Cup. A semifinal appearance would be a good finish for us," Muller said.

"We are not thinking of becoming World Champion with a new team. It will take at least one to two years to build the team. We lost lot of finals in the last couple of years. But I guess these are all part of the learning process," he said.

Citing the example of the last two World Cups, where Germany emerged victorious with a relatively new team, Muller, however, did not rule out his team's chances.

"We won the 2002 and 2006 World Cups with three different teams, so that's a good sign for us. Germany is always favourite in any tournament but this would be different.

"If the tournament starts well for us, we can reach the finals and who knows we can make it a hat-trick. But we are not keeping high expectations as it is not good for performance," he said.

"History is not important for us, what matters is performance. We have to find our own style and abilities which will make our team strong again," Muller added.

On the personal front, he said the 12-team quadrennial event holds immense significance in his career.

"This World Cup is very important for me. It is my first World Cup and may be last because I will get into study just before the 2012 London Olympics," Muller said.

"Back home studies are very important for us as there is not much money in hockey," said the 22-year-old young German skipper.

Asked about the player to watch out for in the tournament from his team, Muller said, "I am looking forward to Florian Fuchs. He is the youngest player in the team, one of our best strikers. He has scored lot of goals in Champions Trophy."

Like many other, the German captain also said that Australia are the hot favourites to win the tournament.

"Australia is the favourite. They are playing quite well. The have grown in strength in the last three to four years," Muller said.

"You can see it in their eyes during practice sessions, you can feel they are determined and confident of winning the World Cup," he added.



Topics : Hockey
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