Hockey: Australia the team to beat at Rio

Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:56am EDT
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By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Germany might be the twice Olympic champions defending their title in men's field hockey but top-ranked Australia will be the team to beat at next month's Rio Games.

Since 1992 Australia have won a medal at every Olympic tournament and the World Cup winners will be the favorites to clinch what would be only their second gold medal.

The Kookaburras, who recently beat India in a penalty shootout in the Champions Trophy final, only managed a bronze four years ago in London despite being overwhelming favorites.

Their London heartbreak triggered a lot of soul searching from the men in gold and green.

"Yeah, we had to do a lot of long hard looking at ourselves, but it paid off ultimately," 32-year-old Glenn Turner, a member of the Australia squad, said.

"Leading up to London we had trained really hard but there was a very different feel to the squad compared to this time around.

"After London we got a psychologist in and we started to get to know each other a lot better."

Mark Knowles and Jamie Dwyer, a five-time International Hockey Federation player of the year, provide Australia with a wealth of experience since Rio will be their fourth Games.   Continued...

Australia's Chris Ciriello (R) celebrates his goal with teammates Mark Knowles (2nd R) and Jacob Whetton (2nd L) as India's Rupinder Singh looks on in the men's gold medal field hockey match at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland. REUTERS/Jim Young