BBC Sport hockey

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 13:38 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

England defender Ali Wilson targets World Cup glory

By Nigel Bell

England and Beeston hockey player Ali Wilson
Wilson believes England have the quality to win the World Cup

Defender Ali Wilson says if England do not progress beyond the group stages of the World Cup in India then they will see their tournament as a failure.

England finished fifth at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and are only ranked sixth in the world.

But the Beeston player, 26, told BBC Nottingham: "To do worse than we did last time would be a backward step."

England, who must finish in the top two of the six-team group to qualify, face Australia in the Pool opener on Sunday.

As well as Australia, England will also face hosts India, Pakistan, Spain and South Africa in Pool B.

Wilson, who played in the last World Cup four years ago, said the squad is confident they can reach the last four of the 12-team competition.

We've got some flair players and if we can keep the general team structure solid...it'll give our creative players the platform to win us the games

Ali Wilson

"I'd be very disappointed if we didn't make the semi-finals," he added. "Once we're there, anything can happen.

"That's the thing about the World Cup, everyone has a strong team and each is capable of beating the other.

"It's going to be tough. You can't afford to lose any games. It's important to hit the ground running. One loss can take you out of the equation for the semi-finals."

England arrive in Delhi on the back of winning the European Cup in August. However, their World Cup preparations have suffered because of the weather.

The heavy snow at the turn of the year meant they had to train indoors before a series of friendly games in Spain.

And there are also concerns about security arrangements in the build up to the tournament.

A bomb attack in the Indian city of Pune on 14 February saw 15 people killed.

There have also been alleged threats from groups targeting sporting events - naming cricket's Indian Premier League and the Commonwealth Games, as well as the World Cup, as potential targets - but the England Hockey Board has been taking advice from the authorities and still intends to travel to India.

England hockey player Ashley Jackson
Ashley Jackson could be one of England's key players

Despite the disruptive run-up Wilson remained upbeat about their chances.

"There's plenty of experience in the team. We're certainly capable of doing very well," Wilson added.

"Our game works best when everyone is playing hard and playing a simple game.

"We've got some flair players and if we can keep the general team structure solid and stop the opposition scoring too many goals it'll give our creative players the platform to go and win us the games."

Wilson, who is currently working as a coach at Oakham School in Leicestershire, cited Ashley Jackson and Barry Middleton as England's players to watch.

"They're two young skilful forward midfield players. There's plenty of other guys can do it for us but those two stand out."



Print Sponsor


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.