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Hockey World Cup 2018: Kalinga Stadium a happy hunting ground for Pakistan

Pakistan have fond memories of the stadium where they beat archrivals India en route to reaching the Champions Trophy final in 2014.

Bhubaneswar, November 26: The Pakistan hockey team players said they were looking forward to play at the "lucky" Kalinga Stadium, venue for the FIH Men's World Cup which begins on November 28.

Hockey World Cup 2018 Trophy Unveiled In Bhubaneswar

Pakistan have fond memories of the stadium where they beat archrivals India en route to reaching the Champions Trophy final in 2014, a match which later marred by the unruly behaviour of some of the players.

There was some uncertainty over Pakistan's participation in the tournament due to sponsorship woes.

However, with- Haier Pakistan -- a leading home appliances company signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to become a title sponsor for the national team till 2020, decks were cleared for Pakistan to compete in the quadrennial extravaganza.

The team received a warm reception at the Wagah Border for the much-awaited showpiece.

"We have come here before and we have always enjoyed playing at this venue. It is a lucky ground for us and we are very excited to be back," said skipper Muhammad Rizwan Senior on the team's arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport.

Speaking of the 'Pool of Death', Hasan Sardar, the legendary centre forward and team manager of Pakistan team said, "With Germany, the Netherlands, Malaysia in our pool, it is a pool of death and every single match will matter.

"We will need to play it like it is a knockout in every single game. First match is against Germany and we are targeting a win against them. I would like to wish all participating teams the very best."

Sardar had earlier sounded out a warning to his players, saying indiscipline will not be tolerated during the World Cup in India.

Pakistan are playing in India for the first time after the unsavoury incident during the 2014 Champions Trophy, when some of the players took off their shirts and made obscene gestures after beating India in the semifinal.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Monday, November 26, 2018, 12:56 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 26, 2018
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