Hockey World Cup | Would love to see India and Holland in WC final, says Floris Jan Bovelander

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Hockey World Cup | Would love to see India and Holland in WC final, says Floris Jan Bovelander

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SportsCafe Desk

12/06/2018

Dutch great Floris Jan Bovelander has revealed that he would love to see India and Holland in the final of the 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup as the two teams battle it out in Odisha. Bovelander further added that India will need to be firm in defence if they wanted to progress to the knockout stages.

The Indian hockey team currently occupy the top spot in Group C ahead of Belgium, Canada and South Africa. India demolished the South Africans by a scoreline of 5-0 and drew their second match against Belgium at 2-2 at the Kalinga stadium in Odisha. Currently labeled as ‘underdogs’, Harendra Singh’s boys will hope to make it to the latter stages of the competition and try and win the trophy on home soil.

And Dutch hockey great, Floris Jan Bovelander, added that he would like to see his national side compete against Manpreet Singh & Co. Bovelander, who won the 1990 World Cup in Lahore, is in the country to watch the ongoing tournament and hopes that Holland are able to go all the way.

"I would love to see India and Holland in the final, but it's not gonna happen, they will meet earlier. If they keep the defence strong, they have a good chance.

"It's not easy to become a champion. There are good teams and you have to have a bit of luck. Everything has to be in place. You have to be exceptionally good. So far, during the tournaments, they (Netherlands) have not been exceptionally good. Here also Holland is one of the favourites but also Australia, Germany, Belgium, India, Argentina. They are all good. They all can win," the Dutchman told TOI.

Bovelander, who was a renowned drag-flicker during his playing days also commented about how he hoped to see a much better conversion rate from penalty corners over the course of the tournament.

"The first week (of a tournament) is okay, everybody is getting used to the pitch and everything. But whoever can accelerate and improve themselves in the following week, and from the quarterfinals, may win. You cannot say who one is really the favourite.

"I haven't seen much (of this World Cup) so far. I was travelling. Nothing special yet. I know some countries have struggled (on penalty corners), Belgium struggled a bit. Also the Indians, didn't they! It's also (due to) the pitch. You have to get used to it as well. Doing it during the tournament is difficult. Also, defending is getting better and better. So we will see how it evolves next week," Bovelander added.

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