Bhubaneswar: India captain Sardar Singh feels arch-rivals Pakistan have the arsenal in their disposal to progress to the next stage of the FIH Champions Trophy to be held here from December 6-14.
Pakistan are placed in Pool A alongside world champions Australia, Belgium and England, while Pool B consists of hosts India, Netherlands, Germany and Argentina. While welcoming Pakistan team, who arrived here today, Sardar hoped to face the neighbours, whom they defeated to win the Asian Games gold, in the knock-out stages of the tournament.
"I welcome Pakistan team to India. I will take this opportunity to wish them all the best and I hope we have a clash against them in the next stage of the tournament.
"Their team is strong and that they have the capability to beat the rivals in their pool and advance to the next phase of the tournament," Sardar said. India and Pakistan, the only Asian team to win the Champions Trophy title, last played in the Asian Games final where Sardar and Co. Won in the penalty shoot-out.
However, Pakistan skipper Imran Muhammad is eyeing at least a last-four finish. "I have been to India before and it's a great feeling to be back. While preparing for the Champions Trophy back home, we have been working on our weaknesses that we discovered during the 17th Asian Games. Reaching the semi-finals is our main target at the moment. We are also focussed on improving our world ranking," he said.
Pakistan will face Belgium in their tournament opener on December 6.