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Champions Trophy to kick off in Spain

Spain are favourites to win their second Champions Trophy gold medal at the men's field hockey tournament starting.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2006 04:22 IST

Spain are favourites to win their second Champions Trophy gold medal at the men's field hockey tournament starting in Terrassa on Saturday.

Netherlands, Germany, Pakistan, Australia and Argentina have come to this intimate venue at the home of hockey in Spain, 30 kilometres inland from Barcelona, for the last major international tournament before the men's World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany from September 6.

Eight of Spain's team live in Terrassa, where the local buses have images of hockey players permanently painted on them.

Spain won its first Champions Trophy at Lahore in 2004 after the Athens Olympics. There are expectations from the home town to win again, putting pressure on them.

Maurits Hendriks, Spain's Dutch-born coach, agreed the pressure was on to win, but added it applied to all the top teams.

"The same applies to the other top candidates when you get to where we are in the standings, the pressure is always there to win," Hendriks said on Thursday.

"Coming from Holland the expectations are always the same -- you have to win the tournament at home," Hendriks said.

"Instead of seeing it as pressure I see it as a tremendous luxury to play this tournament in a hockey town where so many of the guys come from so it is an added motivation for me and for the players as well and it should be fun," Hendriks added.