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Australia, Belgium arrive for HWL Fil

Australia,  Belgium arrive for HWL Fil

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 Nov 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Bhubaneswar, Nov 26: Defending champions Australia and world number three Belgium arrived to a rousing reception at the Biju Patik Intertiol Airport here on Sunday for the Men's Hockey World League (HWL) Fil, which is scheduled to begin at Kalinga Stadium here on December 1.

The teams were welcomed by Odisha state government officials accompanied by host Hockey India (HI) amidst hockey buffs longing to click a picture with their favourite intertiol stars.

Argenti, Germany and the Netherlands will arrive in the city on Monday, said a statement.

With the top teams in the world vying to live up to the billing, it will be hard to predict or single out one team as a clear winner, expressed Australia chief coach Colin Batch.

"You can't predict which team will make the Fil of the tourment. If you see the Sentinel Women's Hockey World League Fil in Auckland, it was hard to predict till the end who will make the fil.

"It is a matter of playing well early on and play your best hockey from the quarter-fils onwards. It is going to be an exciting tourment in that respect. We have played England, Spain and Belgium earlier this year so it will be important to assess our team against the other top teams of the world," Batch stated.

The defending champions will meet India in their first Pool B match on the opening day of the tourment and Batch expects a good contest.

"They (India) are playing at home and will have big expectations. They have some talented players from the Junior World Cup last year where they did very well. We play them in our first match which I am sure will have a good atmosphere and I am very much looking forward to that," added the coach.

Australia has two changes in their squad with siblings Tom and Ben Craig missing out due to injuries and are replaced by young duo Lachlan Sharp and Jake Harvie.

Meanwhile, Belgium coach Shane McLeod emphasized the importance of this tourment in the lead up to next year's World Cup which will be played here.

Earlier this year, prior to the European Championship, Belgium played two matches against India and McLeod believes India has a fresh-looking team with unpredictable combitions. IANS

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