Germany optimistic ahead of their JWC mission

KUALA LUMPUR: Germany are thankful for avoiding being drawn into Group A of the Junior World Cup (JWC), which starts on Tuesday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Coach Eijk van Rein, who guided Germany to victory in last month's Sultan of Johor Cup (SoJC), said with defending champions Argentina and Australia in Group A, it will be a tough tournament for hosts Malaysia and Chile.Germany, the most successful team in the JWC with six titles, are in Group B with France, South Africa and Egypt and are expected to top the group.

"It will be hard work for every team to break into the quarter-finals, so, luckily, Germany did not get drawn in Group A," said Van Rein, whose team held Australia to a 0-0 draw in the SoJC final and clinched the title in a 3-1 shootout.And what did the Germans do post-SoJC?

Captain Matteo Poljaric explained: "When we returned, it was too cold for outdoor play, so we trained on our indoor artificial pitch.

"It's pleasant to be in Kuala Lumpur; it's cloudy but still a bit warm for us. However, it's not as warm as when we were in Johor.

"We're not nervous; we just want to kick off our JWC campaign as soon as possible."

Germany have fond memories of Malaysia with three JWC victories in 1982 (KL), 1989 (Ipoh) and 2009 (Johor-Singapore), while the seniors clinched the 2002 World Cup at the same venue in Bukit Jalil.

"Malaysia have always been a good venue for us. We hope to secure our seventh title here," added Van Rein.

Germany will take on South Africa in their opening Group B match on Tuesday.

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