Hockey World Cup 2023 Opener: Team India took on Spain in the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup as the hosts at their campaign in Odisha’s Rourkela on Friday, January 13th, leading 2-0 at half time.
Amit Rohidas and Hardik score for India to give them a crucial half time lead in the crucial Pool D encounter. Amit Rohidas’ goal was India’s 200th goal in the men’s World Cups.
This follows a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2022, and the Indian team is now seeking their first podium finish in 48 years in the World Cup. India won a bronze in the inaugural tournament in 1971 and a silver in the next edition in 1973.
Currently ranked sixth in the world, the Indian team is considered to be one of the medal contenders, with a talented bunch led by Harmanpreet Singh emerging as a force to reckon with. In the previous edition of the tournament, also held in Bhubaneswar, India had exited at the quarterfinal stage after losing to the Netherlands.
However, they are determined to reach at least the semifinals this time. The Indian team has also done well in the FIH Hockey Pro League, finishing third in the 2021-22 season, and their confidence and winning mentality is back with the team.
Hockey World Cup 2023: India off to a great start
A total of 16 countries are taking part in the Hockey World Cup 2023 tournament, which has been divided into four groups of four teams each. India’s group includes Wales, Spain, and England. The Indian men’s hockey team secured the bronze medal in the first World Cup in 1971 and silver in the second tournament in 1973. Ajit Pal Singh then led the Indian men’s hockey team to the title triumph in the 1975 edition, but since then they have failed to reach even the semifinals.
Harmanpreet Singh, one of the world’s best drag flickers, believes India can go the distance and finish on the podium, ending a 48-year wait for a World Cup medal.
The Indian team will continue their campaign in the coming days, with their next match scheduled against Wales on January 14th.
India: Abhishek, Surender Kumar, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (captain), Lalit Upadhyay, Krishan Pathak, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, PR Sreejesh, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Varun Kumar, Akashdeep Singh, Amit Rohidas (vice-captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sukhjeet Singh.
Spain: Andreas Rafi, Alejandro Alonso, Cesar Curiel, Xavi Gispert, Borja Lacalle, Ãlvaro Iglesias, Ignacio RodrÃguez, Enrique Gonzalez, Gerard Clapes, Andreas Rafi, Jordi Bonastre, Joaquin Menini, Mario Garin, Marc Reyne, Marc Miralles, Pepe Cunill, Marc Recasens, Pau Cunill and Marc Vizcaino.