Germany men and women would appear to be the teams to beat at the FIH Indoor World Cup 2011, which begins on Tuesday in the Polish city of Poznan. However, with 24 of the world’s finest international indoor teams in action there is great potential for unpredictable score-lines at what promises to be a sensational event at the Poznan International Fair.
Host nation Poland, the runner-up at both previous Indoor World Cups will certainly be a tough opponent for the German men, while defending indoor world champions The Netherlands and current European champions Ukraine will probably be the main title challengers for Germany women.
Despite being the logical favourites, the Germany squads will be greatly aware that upsets can happen quickly in the indoor game. At the 2007 FIH Indoor World Cup in Vienna, the German women cruised through their pool, outplaying all their opponents by scoring 56 goals and conceding just five. However, they were unexpectedly stunned in the semi-finals by Spain, who were subsequently beaten in the tournament final by The Netherlands.
Germany men, indoor world champion in 2003 and 2007, come back with another talented squad, including phenomenal outdoor players such as Christopher ZELLER, Matthias WITTHAUS, Tobias HAUKE, Moritz FÜRSTE and Maximilian MÜLLER. The strength of the squad is a clear indication of coach Markus WEISE’s desire to bring home a third straight Indoor Word Cup title.
Although Germany is the arguably the favourite, the preliminary round will be tougher than ever in Pool A. Double FIH Indoor World Cup finalists Poland – who will be cheered on by the passionate home crowd in the Poznan International Fair – will certainly be keen to leave their impression on the tournament and have their sights set firmly on the title.
Outdoor World Champion Australia have participated in the two previous Indoor World Cups, but with modest results (seventh in Leipzig 2003, eighth in Vienna 2007). This time the Kookaburras have included some of their younger members of the outdoor squad including Matthew SWANN and Kieran GOVERS, increasing their chances of success at this tournament. The Netherlands team did not participate in 2007 and only finished fifth in 2003, but are another team capable of challenging for a medal. Canada and Namibia complete the Pool A line-up, with the Canadians having the youngest team in the competition with an average age of 23.5 years. Newcomer Namibia will need to fight hard to survive in this tough pool A.
In Pool B, it will be interesting to see how England performs in what will be their first ever outing at an FIH Indoor World Cup. The squad includes some outdoor stars such as Richard and Simon MANTELL, Barry MIDDLETON, Richard ALEXANDER, Glenn KIRKHAM and James TINDALL. England start their campaign against the Czech Republic, who were close to winning a medal in Vienna but finally finished fourth. The European champions from Austria are aiming for great things at this tournament, clearly hoping to improve on their sixth place finish in Vienna 2007 and are considered by many to be the favourites to win pool B. Russia has already proved in the past that the team is able to surprise in international indoor hockey. Pool B is completed by the USA and Iran. The USA have arrived in Poznan with an experienced team, with the average age of 28.3 years making them the oldest team in Poznan. Newcomer Iran may well be a team to surprise following their success at the recent Moscow Nights tournament where they defeated European champions Austria.
In women’s pool A, the title-defenders from the Netherlands are seen by some to be the favourites to win the group. The Dutch ladies were silver medallists at the 2003 FIH Indoor World Cup in Leipzig before grabbing the gold medal in Vienna. They face the European Champions from Ukraine in their third pool match. Both The Netherlands and Ukraine will be tough to beat, but the other sides in Pool A will be keen to show that they are not just here to make up the numbers. Argentina – the outdoor world champions – make their FIH Indoor World Cup debut here in Poznan, and their performances will be monitored closely. Although missing many of the big names from the outdoor scene, Argentina may well surprise. Austria and the Czech Republic play in their third Indoor World Cup but have yet to win a medal, although the Czech women were close in 2003, losing the bronze medal to France.
Germany is the team to beat in pool B. The team coached by Kais al SAADI, assistant coach of the outdoor team, is a mix of players with great international experience, such as Natascha KELLER, team-captain Fanny RINNE or goalkeeper Barbara VOGEL as well as some potential stars of the future. Germany can expect Belarus to be its toughest opponent in the preliminary round. Belarus finished both previous Indoor World Cups ranked fifth, and two Belarussian players, Volha SHYNTAR and Yuliya LAPTSEVICH were present in both of those competitions. Australia, and their goalkeeper Lisa HERBERTSON, were also participants at the events in Leipzig and Vienna. The Hockeyroos had their best indoor result in 2007 with a modest sixth place. The remaining three teams in pool B appear at an Indoor World Cup for the first time: Uruguay, Namibia and host Poland. They will try to make the most of their debut. Namibia has the oldest team in the women’s tournament with an average age of 26.5 years while Poland presents the youngest squad with an average age of 22.3.
Posted 29 minutes ago.
European Champions Belgium scored six goals to easily dispose of Korea and advance to 5th-6th classification match, a...
Posted 1 hour ago.
The FIH is pleased to confirm the names of the officials who will oversee the women’s competition at next year’s...
Posted 19 hours ago.
Following Sunday’s dramatic conclusion to the inaugural edition of the women’s Hockey World League competition in...
Posted 22 hours ago.
Australia scored first in their exciting clash against Germany, but the Germans showed experience to come back in the...
Posted 24 hours ago.
Two goals from Ammad Shakeel Butt opened up a 4-0 win for Pakistan over South Africa in the semi-final of the...
Posted 1 day ago.
France came back from a two-goal deficit and scored three goals in a row to edge European Champions Belgium in a...