Belgium gear up for junior hockey men`s World Cup

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 01, 2013, 20:29 PM IST

New Delhi: Belgium junior men`s team on Sunday sweated it out during a practice session at the National stadium, with a clear goal of reaching the top of its group at the upcoming Hero Hockey Junior World Cup starting here on Friday.

Belgium coach Philippe Goldberg said his team`s aim was to finish on the podium. "The goal this year is to be at the podium for which we are prepared to go step by step. The matches against Germany and Pakistan will be tough but we are really looking forward to the same.

The aim is to be at the top two in the group and in case we achieve it then we also have to be ready to face tough opponents like Argentina, Australia, Spain and France," said Goldberg on the sidelines of his team`s practice session.

"We started our practice back home during summers wherein the team got the opportunity to play games and were even involved in extensive training. The team was also part of leagues in September, October and November and this has helped us understand each ones strength and role within the team," he added.

Belgium are placed in Pool A along with Germany, Pakistan and Egypt. The coach admitted that it was going to be a tough competition. "We are aware that the competition will be very tough and while we understand that there are teams like Argentina, Spain, Holland, Germany, we should also not forget that there is the Asian teams who will also play a big role in the tournament."

Speaking about the practice session, 19-year-old defender, Arthur van Doren said, "The first day of the training was intense and we have prepared ourselves according to the weather here in India. I and a few here in the team have got the opportunity to have played even for the senior team and which has helped us grow as a player in terms of experience and passing the same to the team members in this junior team.

"As of now we are focusing on ourselves with a clear aim of taking the attack to the opponent. We are confident as a team and aim to win the group matches and the title post that," added Van Doren, who was named the best young player in Belgium in 2012 and earlier this year claimed a Euro Hockey League Silver medal with his club KHC Dragons.