Sunday, June 16, 2024

Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023: Preview guide

All you need to know about the Men’s World Cup, with hosts India searching for their first win since 1975

When: Jan 13-29
Where: Rourkela and Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
Who: 16 teams playing across four pools

World Cup matches will be staged at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar (host of the 2018 tournament), and co-hosted by Rourkela, also in Odisha state, at the Birsa Munda Stadium, a new 20,000-capacity venue. Overall, 44 matches will be played over 17 days.

Full fixtures and match guide here

How the World Cup works

The top four teams from each pool will move directly to the quarter-finals, while the remaining eight teams across the four pools will will compete in cross-over matches for a last eight berth. If the teams can’t be separated, rules could see a shoot-out take place to decide a nation’s fate in advancing to the quarter-finals.

Teams
Pool A: Argentina, Australia, France, South Africa
Pool B: Belgium, Germany, Japan, Korea
Pool C: Chile, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand
Pool D: England, India, Spain, Wales

An ageing Belgium?

The Red Lions may have 11 players aged 31 or over in the world No 2’s squad, but they also have Euro, world and Olympic success behind them. Beware those who have tasted gilded success. With 436 international matches, John-John Dohmen is also closing in on the world caps record and will be 11 away should Belgium defend their title.

Australia eyeing more bounty

Australia will be vying for a sixth straight podium finish this century, having won two of previous three editions. Kookaburra hotshot Blake Govers was the equal leading goal scorer at the 2018 World Cup with seven.

Past men’s winners

2018 B’war: 1. Belgium 2. Netherlands 3. Australia
2014 The Hague: Australia Netherlands Argentina
2010 New Delhi: Australia Germany Netherlands
2006 Mönchengladbach: Germany Australia Spain
2002 Kuala Lumpur: Germany Australia Netherlands
1998 Utrecht: Netherlands Spain Germany
1994 Sydney: Pakistan Netherlands Australia
1990 Lahore: Netherlands Pakistan Australia
1986 London: Australia England West Germany
1982 Bombay: Pakistan West Germany Australia
1978 Buenos Aires: Pakistan Netherlands Australia
1975 Kuala Lumpur: India Pakistan West Germany
1973 Amstelveen: Netherlands India West Germany
1971 Barcelona: Pakistan Spain India

To underline the Kookaburrras record, a 3-0 win over surprise outfit France in 2018 saw Australia reach their 11th straight semi-final. It was also their 17th World Cup win in a row, stretching back to their 2010 World Cup opening defeat to England in New Delhi.

They were to lose to the Netherlands on a shoot-out in the 2018 semi-final, as Belgium men won their first world title. How The Hockey Paper reported the final.

Five players to watch

Dayaan Cassiem – South Africa
A livewire forward capable of hurting the very best teams in the world, a fact proven by some brilliant individual performances at Tokyo 2020 and more recently in the FIH Nations Cup.

Dayaan Cassiem celebates for South Africa in Nations Cup PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS

Victor Charlet – France
The French captain, and leading scorer in the recent FIH Nations Cup, is set for a busy 18 months culminating with a home Olympics. In 116 matches, he has scored 55 goals and will be leading France into a second World Cup.

Christopher Rühr – Germany
A sublime attacker blessed with speed, skill and guile. Named FIH Rising Star of the Year in 2013 and 2015. If Rühr is on his game, Germany have every chance of claiming their first World Cup title since Mönchengladbach 2006.

Zach Wallace – England
Nominated for the 2019 FIH Rising Star of the Year Award, Wallace has established himself as a world class player who can have an impact in almost any position. The 23-year-old captained England at the Commonwealth Games and is a key cog in Paul Revington’s side.

Harmanpreet Singh – India
India’s drag-flicking defender is a proven match winner who, at Tokyo 2020, played a crucial role in helping his team back onto the Olympic podium after an absence of 41 years. Named FIH Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022, also finished top scorer of the 2021-22 edition of the FIH Pro League.


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