NZ will look to win medal after 36 years in men's hockey

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Current World Ranking # 7 (1395 points)

Clubbed with Germany, the Netherlands, India, Korea and Belgium in Pool B in London Olympics.

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Best result: Gold in the 1976 Montreal Games. They defeated Australia 1-0.

Last Olympics: Finished seventh.

Barring the 1976 Olympic gold, New Zealand or the Black Sticks as they are popularly called, have never won a medal in the World Cup or the Champions Trophy. They finished ninth in the 2010 World Cup played in New Delhi and fourth in the 2011 Champions Trophy at home.

The Road to London:
New Zealand qualified as the runner-up of the 2011 Oceania Cup in Australia. After winning the first match 3-0 and drawing the second 3-3, the New Zealand had the hosts in the coffin but could not find the nails. They were routed 1-6 in the final game which allowed Australia to lift the Oceania Cup.

Players to watch out for:
Skipper Dean Couzins (defender), Ryan Archibald (midfielder) and Phil Burrows (striker) are the most experienced players with over 250 caps each. They are closely followed by defender Blair Hopping with 249 caps. Archibald has played for HC Rotterdam in the Dutch Hoofdklasse for a long period while Burrows, a former captain, is known for his deadly maneuverability and deadly reverse strike.

Strengths:
1. Immense experience.
2. Attacking versatility.
3. Lot of players in good form.

Weaknesses:
1. Crumbling against big teams like Australia, Germany and the Netherlands.
2. Players are spread in Europe and Oceania which make it difficult for them to train together at times.

Chances of progress at London Games: 4/10
Reaching the last four will be a tough task for the Kiwis for they have some formidable oppositions in their group. Their recent winning the title at the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament would work as a booster. They should particularly do well against the Dutch for many of their players play in Dutch Hoofdklasse. Many of the experienced players will be determined to win the medal for it might be the final chance for them. New Zealand will play their first game against Korea on Jul 30.

Squad:
Dean Couzins (c), Hamish McGregor (gk), Ryan Archibald, Phil Burrows, Blair Hopping, Nick Haig, Richard Petherick, Arun Panchia, Kyle Pontifex, Simon Child, Shea McAleese, Andy Hayward, Brad Shaw, Stephen Jenness, Hugo Inglis, Stephen Edwards, Nick Wilson and Blair Hilton.

Coach:
Shane McLeod who has been coaching the team since Jan 2007. It was under his tenure that the team had won the 2009 Champions Challenge in Salta and defeated Australia in the Oceania Cup for the first time since 1999. MacLeod himself had also played for the Black Sticks from 1995-1997.

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