Stephan Veen, a Dutch hockey star who has won two World Cups and an Olympic gold medal, says that India has improved significantly as a team in recent years and is one of his top picks for the World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in 2019.

Following a more than 40-year medal drought, India made Olympic history at the Tokyo Games last year by capturing a bronze medal. At the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, they had to settle for silver.

Veen, one of the major players on the successful Dutch squad in the 1990s, stated, “I think India has improved as a team over the previous several years. Because they are far more experienced, they now have the advantage at home.

India is a great choice in my opinion. Australia, too, in my opinion. Be mindful of Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, though.

“There are usually one or two surprises in competitions like the World Cup and the Olympics, making forecasting difficult” (the winner). The legend, a midfielder during his playing days, remarked, “Great games for fans are coming up, which is fantastic for our sport.

The 16 teams playing in the competition are Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, India, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, England, France, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Chile, and Wales. The event is set to take place in January of next year.

The World Cup-winning captain explained that a fantastic combination of leadership, tactics, and player caliber were the assets of his squad in the 1990s when asked about the reasons behind Netherlands’ consistency during his tenure.

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Stephan Veen’s statement

“We had a fantastic team, of course; it was very high quality. Although the Dutch prefer to attack, I believe we have established a good mix between defending and attacking thanks to our excellent penalty corner specialists and midfielders.

“Additionally, I think that the team had good leadership since both the captains and the players stepped up when necessary throughout the game,” Veen, who won the FIH Player of the Year award in 1998 and 2000, added.

“There were various personalities, each with their own methods and modes of leadership. Our strength was the inability of our adversary to anticipate where danger might lurk. We were also aided by the coaches’ strategies at the time. But it’s the little things that count in games, and we were able to recognize those crucial moments as they occurred “he added

Veen took over as the Netherlands’ captain after the country’s team won the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Veen guided the squad to numerous victories, including the country’s victory in the 1998 World Cup and the gold medal achievement at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In front of the home fans in Utrecht, the Netherlands narrowly defeated Spain 3-2 in the World Cup Final to win it in 1998.

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