Bhubaneswar, 5 December 2014: After gruelling days of training and preparations, all the eight participating teams are pepped up for an exciting tussle amongst each other in the most awaited Hero Men’s Champions Trophy 2014 getting underway tomorrow, 6 December 2014 at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
Pakistan is ready to lock horns with Belgium in its opening match of the tournament aiming to defend the title by showing their excellent skills and abilities. Both the teams are placed in Pool A alongside Australia and England.
Currently ranked 11th in the FIH rankings, with the ‘Green Shirts’ having a total medal tally of 16 in Champions Trophy, Pakistan clinched a bronze in 2012 Champions Trophy after defeating India 3-2 in a high voltage medal game. The team has an outstanding record of winning gold in the first and the second season of the Champions Trophy out of the total three. The team also adds to its name the three gold medal finishes in Olympics and four gold wins in the World Cup. Whereas, the Red Lions presently standing at the 4th position in the FIH ranking, it took the fifth place over Germany in the last season played at Melbourne, Australia. With the fifth place finishes in the London Olympics, the 2012 Champions Trophy and this year’s World Cup, they have done well to confirm their growing conviction that they are among the leading hockey nations.
The two teams faced each other in the previous season of the Champions Trophy where Pakistan blanked Belgium with a score of 2-0.
As both the teams are coming out to be strong contenders not leaving any chance to utilise their practice sessions, they are expecting to finish the tournament on a winning note to go a step further.
Speaking on the team’s opening match, Belgium’s Coach Jeroen Delmee said, “Pakistan is a good competition and we are looking forward to start with a win. While the team is geared up for the tournament, we are putting in our best efforts in overcoming our challenges. We certainly aim to get a medal finish in this tournament posing a big threat to the opponents.”
Commenting on the team’s preparation ahead of the first match, Belgium’s Captain John John Dohmen said, “We have been improving our game and we have some steady progress in few areas. I am sure it’s going to be an exciting opening match against Pakistan exciting tournament and we are determined to compete with the other teams in the best possible way. I wish the team performs with enthusiasms which makes possible for us to pull off a win against them.”
Speaking on tomorrow’s match against Belgium, Captain Muhammad Imran said, “While tomorrow’s clash will be a tough one keeping in mind that Beligium has been playing good hockey recently, this still will not deter us from playing as a unit and aiming for a win. We have experienced players in our team and we will utilize this to our benefit in this tournament”