New Delhi: With the World Cup just round the corner, Indian men's hockey team chief coach Terry Walsh is realistic about his ward's chances and said his main "objective is to finish in the top 8" in the mega-event and anything higher than that will be a "big bonus".
Fresh from a preparatory tour to Europe, Walsh however believed India can climb up to the top six position by the end of 2014.
"The World Cup is the second most important event after the Olympic Games. So every team is going to be prepared. Our objective is to finish in the top 8 and should we finish higher than that it will be a big bonus," Walsh told PTI in an interview after returning from a tour to The Hague, The Netherlands where the World Cup will be held from May 31 to June 15.
"But I think by the end of the year, by the time we get to the Champions Trophy we should be shooting for a top 6 position in the world. I think that's very realistic," he
Walsh said for a team like India a positive start will be play a crucial role in a big tournament like the World Cup.
"More importantly, we will strive to improve the level of our performance at the international stage. Anything can happen at the World Cup, we could end up with a very outstanding performance.
"I think the first few games will be really critical. In this World Cup I believe the first game against Belgium will be extremely crucial in deciding our final outcome," the Australian said.