Former Germany Captain Moritz Fuerste recalls 2006 WC-winning moment, picks favourites for FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023
Moritz Fuerste believes Belgium and Australia are top contenders ~
As the clock ticks closer to the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023, with less than 100 days to go, Hockey India launches Favourite World Cup Memory which will bring hockey fans unknown facts, fun anecdotes and special moments for hockey stars around the world who have achieved the pinnacle at this prestigious event in the previous years.
Our series picks up with the dynamic Moritz Fuerste, who was part of the Germany team that won the World Cup in 2006 in Mönchengladbach, Germany, and then went on to lead the national team in major tournaments.
One of the most renowned defenders of his time, Moritz Fuerste was just breaking into the senior team when the 2006 Men’s Hockey World Cup began in Mönchengladbach, Germany. At the time, Fuerste had played only a few games for the senior team, making his senior international debut in December 2005 in a Champions Trophy match against Pakistan.
Competing in the biggest tournament of the sport for the first time remains one of the most cherished memories of Moritz’s remarkable career that saw him make 262 international appearances for Germany, scoring 87 goals.
“My personal favourite memories of the World Cup were quite a while ago. They are from 2006. When we hosted the World Cup in Germany, it was my first international tournament, and the start of my career,” Moritz said.
The tournament proved to be even more special for the former German dragflicker as his team went on to beat Australia 4-3 in the thrilling finale in front of home fans to claim the trophy.
“The entire feeling of playing in front of the home crowd and winning the Gold medal in the Final against Australia after a very intense match was very special for me,” Moritz said.
The former German international further said that he continued to play the sport over the next decade because of the emotions he felt after the final whistle of the 2006 World Cup.
“I still remember walking around the stadium. That atmosphere was the starting point of everything and kept me going all these years. That was my favourite moment – the final whistle of the 2006 World Cup, I will never forget it,” he added.
‘India can definitely be a contender for medal’: Moritz
Now, Moritz has been retired for several years, but he is keeping his eyes on the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023, set to take place in January. Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, India, Argentina, Germany, New Zealand, England, France, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Chile, Wales are the 16 teams, who will be competing in the tournament.
“I think it’s going to be a very exciting tournament. It’s unusual to not have the World Cup at the final stages of the year. It’s going to be a change for most of the countries to really focus. But as always, India will be a great host and I expect the games to be really exciting. It’s a fantastic stadium. The crowd is really psyched, especially during the night games when India plays. Everyone will be looking forward to play in India,” Moritz said.
On being asked to pick his favourites for the tournament, Moritz named Belgium and Australia to be the top contenders, but added that Netherlands, Germany and India can also win medals.
“I personally was not surprised by Belgium winning the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup. They are the dominant force in world hockey at the moment. They have a structured team that has been playing together for a very long time with young talents. So, Belgium along with Australia are the top favourites to win this time around,” he said.
“Behind them, there are a group of teams that can play for the medals. Those are the Netherlands, Germany and also India came up over the last year or so. I think they were struggling in the past but now they will definitely be a contender for a medal,” he added.
On being asked to give advice to the new Captains who will lead their teams in the tournament, the former German skipper said,
“I don’t think the current Captains need advice from me, they are very strong and experienced international hockey players. Every team needs a different leadership. Now there are new forms of leadership, and new teams that are dominating the hockey world. Obviously, there are hopes that Germany can come into that. Right now, it’s exciting to see new teams leading their teams to trophies,” he signed off.