Sunday, June 21, 2009


They say familiarity breeds contempt.

And that will be the best way to describe the final of the Junior World Cup between Germany and Holland at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium today.

The traditional foes at European level will now take it one step higher, to the world junior level.

Germany have a rich tradition in the Junior World Cup, dominating it in such a manner, from 1982 to 1993, that led to others thinking finishing runner up was akin to being de facto champions.

Three of the four titles the Germans won,1982, 1985 and 1989, was under the tutelage of Paul Lissek and the other, in 1993 with Bernard Peters.

Though both went on to coach the German senior sides, that will not be the case of current coach Uli Forstner.

For he is destined to give up coaching after the JWC and will assume a yet to be determined position in the DHB.

And winning the JWC will be the perfect farewell present.

"Holland have a good penalty corner set up and that is what we have to counter," said Uli.

"It is their set pieces that worry us and I have planned something."

The Germans play slick hockey, patient yet lethal when they counter attack.

If is German precision on one side, the attacking flair of the Dutch that has caught in the imagination.

In Peter van Ass, they have a wily coach, who is not only media friendly but tactically sound.

And he was modest when asked if he wanted to be known as the coach that wins the Junior World Cup.

"What is important is that Holland wins," said van Ass.

"Germany are a great side but that does not mean we will be pushovers. It is important that my players maintain the structure throughout the match."

So will Germany take home the trophy for the fifth time?

Or will we see a fifth winner as Holland etch their name on the trophy to join one time winners in the likes of Australia, Pakistan, India and Argentina?

The stage has been set and if I was a betting man, my money will be on Holland.