Playing in their first ever Men’s Hockey World Cup, Chile players are excited for what lies ahead for them in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela. The team reached Odisha on Thursday for the mega event and received a warm welcome at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.
Led by Fernando Renz, Chile will go through their final preparations in Bhubaneswar before setting out for Rourkela, where they will play their opening match of the tournament against New Zealand on January 14.
Talking about the atmosphere in the camp ahead of their campaign in the mega event, Chile skipper Fernando said, “We have a good mixture of young and senior players in our squad. Our team is really good and we have been playing together for four years. So, we are a team that is really tough to beat and will be doing our best in the tournament.”
The team is placed in Pool C along with the Netherlands, Malaysia and New Zealand. After making their tournament debut, Chile take on Malaysia on January 16, in Rourkela, and round up their group stage campaign against the Netherlands on January 19 in Bhubaneswar.
Fernando Renz also touched upon the challenges they expect to face in the World Cup.
“This is our first time in the Men’s Hockey World Cup. We qualified for the tournament in Santiago, Chile almost a year back and since then, we have been preparing for this prestigious tournament,” said Fernando.
“We knew that we will be playing huge games here in India. As you all know, we have a tough group and will be up against teams like the Netherlands, Malaysia and New Zealand. Every game will be very tough for us but we have been preparing for this tournament the whole year, so, we know we are going to do our best in the competition,” he added.
The 16 teams participating in the forthcoming World Cup are Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, India, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, England, France, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Chile and Wales.
Meanwhile, Chile head coach Jorge Dabanch is wary of the challenge top teams such as the Netherlands pose for his team.
“There are many top teams in the World Cup and of course hosts India are one of them as well. Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands will be tough teams to beat and we will look to register a win against these top sides in the tournament.”
Talking about his team’s strength Dabanch said, “We have a very big heart and we will fight for every match. I believe that tactically our team is really good and we are excited to see the kind of challenges we will face in the World Cup.”