Bhubaneswar: They are certainly not as feted as the ‘Les Bleus’ but the French hockey team is expecting that a quarter-final berth will usher a new era going into the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The upset win over Olympic champions Argentina in the ongoing men’s World Cup has been the catalyst for a ‘French Revolution’ in an unchartered territory.
Returning to the FIH World Cup after a hiatus of 28 years, France, the lowest ranked side in the competition at 20, has already raised expectations back home and will like to carry the momentum during the last eight phase. France will next play world no. 17 China in the cross-overs on Monday and going by their form, they are expected to reach the quarterfinals, where a stern test awaits them in the form of two-time defending champions and world no.1 Australia.
But ask the France team management, they will happily admit that they have already surpassed expectations here and the team is on the right track towards its “Ambition Hockey 2024” project. “We have showed that with our work that even if you don’t have 100,000 hockey players, you can still achieve a dream, to reach the next round after beating Olympic champions (Argentina) at a World Cup,” said the France’s coach Jeroen Delmee, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Netherlands.