Jacques Brinkman, father of the Netherlands men’s hockey team captain Thierry Brinkman, has asked his son to enjoy his game against Belgium in the semi-final to be played at the Kalinga Stadium on Friday.
Jacques should know how it feels ahead of big games. He was part of the Netherlands hockey teams that won gold in the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996 and the Sydney Olympics in 2000. A midfielder, Jacques was also part of the Dutch teams that lifted the World Cup in 1990 and 1998.
After the Netherlands team registered an emphatic victory against South Korea on Wednesday, the senior Brinkman, now 56, told The Telegraph: “My only advice to my son is to play with a smile on his face, train hard and try to be a little better in the next game. The most important thing is that you enjoy your game... so that you can play your natural game in a jam-packed stadium.”
Stating that this is a “great” team, Jacques also thanked the spectators for their support for the Dutch national team. “We had a very nice stay for two-anda-half weeks, Of course, it’s very nice when you win. We will stay here till the end of the tournament,” said Brinkman.
Friday’s match would be a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final, also held in Bhubaneswar, in which Belgium had triumphed 3-2 in a penalty shootout with the Dutch after the match ended goalless in regulation time.
Brinkman Senior said Friday’s match against Belgium would be a crucial one. “Both the teams are good. It would not be easy like today (Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Korea). It would be a tough game,” he said.
Jacques had earlier worked as an analyst for Dutch media. However, he stopped doing that after his son Thierry joined the national team. He, along with his family members, goes to see the matches wherever the Netherlands play. They had also visited Rourkela to see a few matches of the ongoing World Cup.
Jacques and family members of the Netherlands team were so happy after the team registered a win to enter the semi-final they rose from their seats, and obliged everyone who wanted to take a selfie with them.
Captain Thierry’s fatherin-law, Luc Boers, said, “Our team is playing well. We are hopeful that the team will lift the world cup. There is a 50:50 chance as of now.”
Thierry’s wife Elke Boers was elated. “Our team will play well against Belgium in the semi-final,” she gushed.
The Netherlands had last won the World Cup in 1998. Since then, they have made it to the finals twice, losing 6-1 to Australia in 2014 followed by the shootout heartbreak against the Belgians here four years later.
Thierry has vowed that their aim is to be the world champions again.
The Dutch are expected to continue their attacking game with striker Koen Bijen and captain Thierry being in great touch with five goals apiece.
Drag Flicker Jip Janssen will be their main penalty corner taker and he is also in good form with five goals from four matches.
In the first semi-final on Friday, world number one Australia face Germany, ranked fourth in the FIH chart.
Australia’s physical and attacking play will be matched by the Germans.
With PTI inputs