Relaxed, aggressive and competitive. All words that can be used to sum up the Australian approach to sport, and all words that characterise why the green and gold of Australia has become synonymous with success at major hockey tournaments. Both the men and women's teams have won the Hockey World Cup twice before, so both will be seeking a third title to add to the Australian haul of Olympic, Commonwealth, and Champion Trophy medals.
The Kookaburra's are the reigning men's World Cup champions, and captain Mark Knowles warned that opposition in the Hague could expect to see more of the diving and harrying on the pitch that has become a mark of the Aussie way. The number 1 ranked team go into the competition on the back of a comprehensive rout of their opponents at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and, with this tournament being coach Ric Charlesworth's last major competition, his team will want to see the iconic coach retire in style.
Madonna Blyth is captain of the Hockeyroos, and she is hoping that the women will be able to emulate the men's performance of four years ago. Currently, the Australian team are ranked 4th in the world, and they will be wanting to finish higher than their fifth place in the last World Cup. And don't be surprised to see the Hockeroos kicking a football around before their matches, Madonna explains that this has now become their traditional warm-up.
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