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Hockey World Cup: Sibling support in times of hard days

Pau and Pepe have been playing together for Spain since January last year

Pau Cunill and Pepe Cunill Spanish hockey players Pau Cunill and Pepe Cunill | PTI

There's a saying that 'a brother is better than 1,000 friends' and that is reflected in the Cunill siblings in the Spanish team which is battling to remain in contention for a quarter-final berth in the ongoing hockey World Cup.

Pau Cunill and Pepe Cunill are providing each other with emotional support after Spain slumped to 0-2 defeat to India in their opener last week. 

The same is the case of the siblings in the Wales team -- Gareth Furlong and Rhodri Furlong, who lost their second match on Sunday to be virtually out of the tournament.

In Bhubaneswar, the Grambusch brothers -- Mats and Tom -- are in a better position as their German team beat Japan 3-0 in their campaign opener.

"To have someone from your family playing alongside you during such a big tournament like the World Cup is a big support emotionally and otherwise. You can rely on him for anything, for moral support or boosting confidence," Pau said.

The 23-year-old Pau is one-and-half years older than Pepe and they have been inseparable since their childhood. They also play together for the same club in Spain -- Atletic Terrassa.

In fact, one of their cousins -- Gerard Clapes -- is also in the Spanish team for the ongoing World Cup here.

"Both my father and mother played hockey. Our grandfather also played hockey. So, you can say that ours is a hockey family," Pau said with 21-year-old Pepe nodding with a smile.

"Everyone (in the family) talked about hockey, and everyone is a hockey player. Our parents are very proud of the two of us playing for the national team together."

Pau and Pepe have been playing together for Spain since January last year and were a part of the team that played Pro League matches against India at Kalinga Stadium in February and October-November.

"We played together for the Spanish team for the first time in a Test match against the Netherlands in January last year," Pau said. In the team set-up, the two brothers cannot be together all the time and they have to be with their own groups at times.

"At home, we share a room but in the national team, we cannot be like that. We have to mix up with others. We don't care whether we are together or not," said Pau.

"Of course, before matches, we talk to each other, try to boost confidence and support each other. It's always an honest discussion. If I make a mistake, he will point it out to me, and vice versa."

Pau said there is also a healthy competition between them, trying to do better for the team.

He said he found hockey in India to be in "another level." "It is crazy, hockey in India is at another level, the infrastructure, the love of the game here, it is at another level. No wonder, India is currently doing very well."



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