Field Hockey News: India have a good chance of reaching the semifinals at the Hockey World Cup, says Ties Kruize

    Former Dutch Olympic hockey star Ties Kruize thinks the hosts have a strong goalkeeper and a PC battery, two essential components for success.

    Team India will likely reach the semi-finals according to Ties Kruize Team India will likely reach the semi-finals according to Ties Kruize

    It is a great accomplishment to win a competition like the Hockey World Cup and it requires a rare talent to accomplish this in successive editions. This is especially the case at a time when the Indian subcontinent dominated the game as artistry and skill were more important than power.

    Dutchman Ties Kruize achieved double success in 1973 and 1975. His achievement was based on the mastering of penalty corners, which were not as common as they are now. He also contribued to increasing the sport's popularity in the Netherlands.

    The manager of the Dutch squad at the 2010 competition, Kruize is now 70 and has been speaking ahead of the forthcoming Hockey World Cup, which begins on Friday.

    Speaking from The Hague, he told Sportstar: "It would be great to have an India-Holland final but I don't know, Holland have a new coach and a rather new team with a few youngsters. Then again, it's the Dutch team and we have a very good club system so there's a lot of potential.

    "As for India, I know the advantage of playing at home, especially in India where the crowd is so fantastic. And of course, it's all about the quality of game they play. But if India starts properly I think India has a good chance to at least reach the semi-finals.

    "Because they (India) have fantastic skills. And the Australian coach you have (Graham Reid), he has found a good combination between playing spectacular hockey and playing for a win.

    "You have a very good short corner specialist, which is very important in hockey nowadays, and a good goalkeeper. And these two are a good base for a good result for the team, so I have expectations from them, I hope they do well."

    The current president of Hockey India, Dilip Tirkey, was one of the few Indians to play in a foreign league when he represented HC Klein Zwitserland in 2005-06. Kruize was the club's president at the time.

    "I played there all my life and I'm still a member. Dilip was one of the players we asked to come and play, he was very good and a friend. And the centre forward, Gagan (Ajit Singh). They're very, very nice people and very good players, it was great having them," he continued.

    Kruize also admitted he is disappointed over the absence of Pakistan, saying: "I've been in India several times, both as a player and as a manager. And, as a player from abroad, very honestly, I think India is the best country to play hockey. It really is fantastic. The crowd – I played in front of almost 45,000 people – and the atmosphere is something really special.

    "I always say, the other hockey countries need India and Pakistan, when they play it is spectacular, there is planning but in principle, there is no tactics really. You have the ball and move ahead, then you lose the ball and everyone goes back, it's like a non-stop wave, beautiful.

    "Unfortunately Pakistan is not so good at the moment because nobody can go there to play and they don't have the money to go abroad. Fortunately, India is back among the top and that is very important for hockey to grow."