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'Experienced Aussies are favourites to win hockey World Cup'

Source: PTI
January 10, 2010 17:51 IST
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He has led Argentina to the bronze medal in last year's Champions Trophy, but skipper Matias Vila is realistic enough to admit that his team does not stand with a good chance of a podium finish in the forthcoming hockey World Cup to be held New Delhi from February 28 to March 13.

"Of course we will play the Hero Honda FIH World Cup with a gold (medal) in mind, like always. Dreaming is free! But for Argentina, playing the 5 to 8 classification games will be great," Vila has been quoted as saying in the tournament's official newsletter.

Vila, 32, feels there will be very little pressure on his team during the tournament as everyone back home knew Argentina were not ranked among the top teams in the world.

"The pressure will be on the top teams. Argentina knows that we are the lowest ranked team in the competition and so our main goal is to take steps forward on the rankings first," the Argentine captain said.

According to the Beunos Aires-born midfielder, Australia is the side which he is wary of the most as its players know how to use the amended rules in the best manner possible. "The Aussies! They are the team who use the new rules the best way," he said.

Among the new rules which has been introduced are self pass following a free-hit award and suspension for a green card offence, and Vila expects these minor changes to speed up the game and result in more goals.

"After a couple of adaptation months, the new rules are fully incorporated. I think they are a good initiative for making the sport more exciting and with more amount of goals," he said.

Vila is clear in his mind that this is his last World Cup and so he wants to bid adieu to the event on a high note.

"This edition will be the most important tournament in my career because may be its my last World Cup and being the captain is an extra motivation," he said.

He's also excited to play in India, the sentimental home of the game.

"Playing a World Cup in India is what every hockey player in the world wishes for, it will be for sure an amazing and unforgettable experience," he said.

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