Continuing our series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, Spain (FIH World Ranking: 8) captain Miquel Delas looks ahead to his team’s all-important two-match clash with France (WR:12), with a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the line. The crucial matches will take place in Valencia, Spain on 25/26 October 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A transcription of the interview can be found below.
The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How is your team preparing for these hugely important matches?
Miquel Delas: For us it is really important because our main goal is to go to the Olympics and after a really good EuroHockey Championship campaign [silver medallists], we have to focus on the process and what we did to achieve that. We must make sure we are really prepared because we are facing a very tough opponent over the two matches in Valencia.
As the home team, what can the fans expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers
Miquel Delas: Same as always. We defend as a unit. There are a lot of good individuals in the team. We will defend with patience and show a lot of Spanish character. That is our main point.
What are your thoughts about your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers and how is your squad feeling about these matches?
Miquel Delas: We know France very well. We are neighbours and we have played each other a lot in the last couple of years. We played them at the last World Cup and that was a really level match. We think they can play really good hockey and we respect them a lot. We need to be in really good shape and in our best moment if we are to beat them. Playing at home will make a small difference to us. Valencia will be full of Spanish supporters and they will help us a lot.
Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?
Miquel Delas: Qualifying for the Olympics is a huge thing. It is all or nothing. This new system is spectacular and we want to be at the Olympics for sure and we will do everything in our power to be there.
Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.
For complete information about the men’s and women’s draw for the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, .
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