Michael Hoare insists England can cause an upset in Saturday’s hockey semi-final against Australia.
The Aussies, the reigning world champions will start as strong favourites against Chiswick-based Hoare and his team-mates, whose defeat to New Zealand in their penultimate group match condemned them to the last four match everyone had hoped to avoid.
However, Hoare, who warmed up for the clash by helping England beat Canada in their final group game insists the men from down under are not invincible and pointed out a recent success against them to prove his point.
He said: “The Aussies did really well at the World Cup, but I always really enjoy playing against them as it is a real physical battle. Obviously they won it that time, but we beat them at the World League back in January so we know we can do it.”
It is the sort of game Formby-born Hoare dreamt of when choosing hockey as a teenager over two of his other sporting loves, football and tennis.
Despite comments from his mates that he spurned the chance to make his name in the national game on Merseyside, the 28-year-old defender has never had cause to regret his career choice.
He added: “I have no regrets about choosing hockey – how can I have? I’ve played in a World Cup, a European Championship and now a Commonwealth Games. Hopefully there will be an Olympic Games too in Rio so definitely no regrets.
“I started hockey while living in Formby near Liverpool, but I was sport mad generally. It was an ideal place to grow up in that respect and I played football, tennis, golf you name it. Dad used to drive me everywhere, including Formby to Bisham Abbey a number of times. Eventually the two of us had a chat and decided I just could not be in three places at once.
“Hockey was definitely the sport I did best in at every age group. I played England U18s at 15 where in other sports like football I played in my own age level. A few of my friends sometimes say to me don’t you think you could have played football, but I’m focused on the future and having a few medals around my neck.”