India set for Champions Trophy

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:04 IST

India play their first game in the Champions trophy hockey in Pakistan on Saturday and first up for them is Spain.

New Delhi:

India play their first game in the Champions trophy hockey in Pakistan on Saturday and first up for them is Spain. It gets only tougher after that since this is the third most important tournament in international hockey, featuring the top six teams. However, Olympic gold medalists Australia are not playing. India only got to play in the Champions trophy by default after Australia pulled out. The inexperienced team still missing Dhanraj Pillay and Gagan Ajit Singh did well to hold Spain to a 1-1 result in the two friendly matches last month. "At this point we are at a lower level and are not among the top six. But we are very close to this level and we have to see that first we reach that level and establish ourselves there. Only then can we think about winning tournaments and considering ourselves among the top three in the world," said Gerhard Rach, Coach, Indian Hockey team. Tremendous pressure And getting to that top position will not be easy. India begin their campaign on December 4 against Spain. On December 5, it faces Holland and on December 7, it plays against Germany. December 8 is the big one for Indian fans against Pakistan. New Zealand, which is always a troublesome opponent, is the last game before the playoffs begin. "Everybody can have a good day or a bad day. On our day we can beat some of the best teams in the world," said Rach. While Rach sounded both positive and realistic at the same time, it is believed that there is tremendous pressure on him to deliver soon enough or face the sack.

Topics : Hockey
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