The Top of the D has been out and about at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, battling my way to the front of the queue of journalists to try and get some post match quotes for you, the readers. (Apart from Belgium vs India, I had to run to Greenfields for the start of England’s game!) Here are what the players had to say on day one.
Jeremy Hayward, Australia:
It’s always important to make a good start. One loss could put you out of contention for the finals so it’s good to get three points on the board and start the tournament with a good win. We trust our game plan and stick to it and we knew it’d work in the end. It’s great to be the first game and set the standard for the rest of the tournament. I was a little nervous but it’s good to get it out of the way and get a win under our belts.
Glenn Turner, Australia:
It’s important to start well. We had a lot of chances but their goalkeeper played very well. After we got our second goal they had to come and attack a bit more which gave us some space to exploit. We played quite well but obviously there’s a lot to work on. The main thing is to get the three points on the board.
[On his opening goal] I had a lot of time to think about it. I was going to go to the other side, but then the goalkeeper stayed back and put me off a bit. I was lucky as I had time to fake one way and go the other way pleased to see it go in.
This competition is going to be so tight. Having watched the teams all over the world the last year there are a lot of teams who can win it. Goal difference could be important so we’re very pleased to get a 4-0 win to start.
Tengku Ahmad, Malaysia:
We knew it was going to be tough but we need to make more of our chances and be more clinical on the break if we are going to compete with the top teams.
Krystal Forgesson, New Zealand:
We started well and our penalty corners worked nicely. Belgium came back at us hard and we managed to hold on. We were a little fortunate that we took our chances early on.
Aisling D’Hooghe, Belgium:
We had a good second half but we had given ourselves too much to do. We showed some character but chasing four goals is very difficult. We looked a little nervous, perhaps because it is our first Would Cup but we need to do better in the next game.
Casey Eastham, Australia:
For us it was important to get a good start to the campaign. We knew they’d cause us problems as much as we’d have liked to have been a bit more comfortable we’re happy to get the three points. They play with a lot of pace and they tend to attack in swarms and really move the ball quickly. They usually have a couple of players floating up high who can cause problems. We’d done our homework going into the game we knew they would be aggressive but we knew how to deal with it which we did.
For a long time Australia haven’t had a threat at the top of the circle so it’s been something we’ve been developing for three or four years and Anna Flangan and Jodie Kenny are performing really well on them. It’d be nice to win a few more for them to execute but it’s proving a good asset to have. We have some other girls who can produce something as well as Jodie and Anna, though. Maybe you’ll see that later in the tournament.
I was really honoured to be captain today. It’s not nice having Madonna Blyth missing from the side and we hope to have her back soon. I hope I did her proud and I hope to do the team proud but as much as it’s an honour I’m looking forward to her coming back into the team.
Anna Flanagan, Australia:
Three points in the first game is really important. Especially as we have teams like Holland to come, it’s vital that you win the games against the teams you should be beating. Every game matters and every goal matters and that’s what we saw today.
It’s taken us two years to reach the levels we have now and our hard work is starting to show. We’ve won a couple of tournaments and came in the top two at the World League so we want to get on the podium again and be world champions. We think we have the group to do it it’s just a case of getting the results.
We’ve done a lot of work on corners and the exiting thing is we still have a lot of work to go. The team do the hard work to get the corners and we get the chance to score the goals but obviously both parts of that are important. Hopefully I can continue to contribute and help the team.
Dan Fox, England:
A draw is not a bad result but obviously it’s a shame we couldn’t get the three points. Its tight at this level, there are no easy games. You need to put your chances away and your corners away which we perhaps didn’t do.
There’s a lot of quality in this pool, teams will take points off each other, so we’ll have to see what we can do against India and Malaysia in the next two games.
Bobby Crutchley, England:
The game showed a lot of what we’re about. There was some really good hockey in there and we created plenty of chances. We played particularly well in the first half and then we lost some control in the second half and that’s when they put us under pressure, but overall we played very well. We’re a bit frustrated not to win having created so many chances but it’s a long tournament and they are a good team so one point is a decent start and we’ll move on and build on it for India.
Barry Middleton, England:
We’re at our best when we enjoy ourselves and that shows when we play well. First half we played some really good hockey and deserved to be in the lead. Second half they changed some things and got about us and made it harder for us and we made a few mistakes didn’t keep calm and keep to our game. We want to win but we want to go about it by playing good and exciting hockey. If they get a goal like they did it’s a shame but that’s the way it goes. We said to the guys at half time that as long as we create chances we don’t have to change anything. There’s no sense in getting frustrated and trying to different things that you aren’t good at. That won’t get you anywhere. Sometimes they go in and other days they don’t. That’s hockey for you.
Eva de Goede, The Netherlands:
We played Japan in a test match before the World Cup and struggled a bit, winning 1-0, so to score a lot of goals and get the win today is fantastic.
Playing in an arena like this in front of a home crowd is amazing. It’s hard to explain but you can feel the vibe and the energy from the crowd when you’re out there. It makes you want to run faster and try harder for all of them.
We haven’t looked ahead too far at the rest of the games. We are focused on each game as it comes, so we’ll look at Belgium and try to win that one and see where we are from there.
More quotes will follow at the end of day two. Keep checking The Top of the D for all the latest updates!