Bhubaneswar, 10 December 2014: The Hero Men’s Champions Trophy quarterfinal games are all set for an exciting clash between 2012 FIH Champions Trophy Silver medallist, The Netherlands, and Bronze medallist, Pakistan tomorrow at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. The winner of this match will reach the semi-finals of this prestigious tournament.
Placed in Pool B, the Netherlands is leading the pool table with two wins which came against Argentina and Germany, but went down 2-3 to India yesterday, in a thrilling encounter which many will remember for years to come. Whereas, Pakistan, placed in Pool A, lost to Australia 0-3 in its previous match, remains the only team in the tournament without a point against its name.
The Netherlands, being the eight times champion for Champions Trophy, have an advantage in the head- to- head meeting with Pakistan, secured two wins in the 2012 FIH Champions Trophy. Wherein, the Netherlands made its winning start in the opening match of the tournament with a score of 3-1 followed by another match where the Netherlands proved to be a clear favourite by defeating Pakistan with a scoreline of 5-2. This outing against Netherlands will be fresh in Pakistan’s mind when they meet the Dutch team tomorrow.
The Dutch Team, one of the most experienced teams also has to its credit of earning a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics, but cannot afford to take Pakistan for granted as the Asian team has a set of players who can snatch the victory from the opponents on any given day. While the Netherlands team are 8 times champions, Pakistan too has to its name of being 3 times champions for the tournament.
While Pakistan team is led by Imran Muhammad who has to his name for the maximum number of caps, on the other hand Netherland’s Mink van der Weerden showed that he is among the world’s finest players through its ability to score goals through penalty corners and thus helping his team to win crucial games. Another player to look out in the Dutch team will be Diede van Puffelen who has to his credit of scoring 2 crucial field goals. While the team will be looking at these two to continue their goal scoring spree, Pakistan’s coach Sheikh Shahnaz will be looking at his team to go all out and win the game.
Talking post the practice session Pakistan Coach Sheikh Shahnaz said, “We cannot forget that we have not played for the last 2 years in any of the International tournaments, and keeping this in mind, the team is playing good and is improving itself with each game. We will be playing the Netherlands tomorrow and the team is practicing hard to beat them. In the last match, the team created opportunities but were unable to convert. We are looking at converting these opportunities into goals tomorrow. All teams are good and it’s just on the given day that you have to prove and win the game.”
Speaking on tomorrow’s match, Pakistan Captain Muhammad Imran said, “While we did not display good performance till now, that does not deter us from going all out tomorrow. We are aiming for a win and we are putting our strategies and working on our flaws by watching the videos of our games. We are confident for the match and hope to open our account tomorrow.”
Commenting on the clash against Pakistan, the Netherlands Coach Max Caldas said, “I am happy with the way out team has been performing. Sitting on the top in our pool table, make us realize that no competition is tough for us, but, at the same time, we are taking all the teams with due consideration. And we hope to showcase a good game play tomorrow. The team is continuously working hard to put up their best performance in every game. Our confidence is very high and we are certain to beat Pakistan tomorrow.”
Speaking on the all important match tomorrow, The Netherlands Captain Robert Horst said “We had a good practice session, did some strategic work on penalty shoots. Pakistan is a very good side and has skillful players. We understand their style of play which is like the way the Indian team play. The climate is proving to be a bit challenging but we are working on ourselves to play under such a situation. Pakistan has an advantage over us where the climate is concerned but we are in good form and will look at continuing with it. We are analyzing our play of the last match and working on team coordination.”
The match between The Netherlands and Pakistan will be played on 11 December 2014 at 1130 IST at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.