Just as they did in 2018, India will host the 15th edition of the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup that starts in Odisha on January 13. But slightly from the previous edition, the limelight will be shared by two arenas rather than one as Rourkela joins Bhubaneswar’s now iconic Kalinga Stadium.
Harmanpreet Singh, FIH men’s player of the year two times in a row now, will be leading India at the World Cup. Indian men’s team will hope to follow Netherlands (in 1973 & 1998) and Germany (in 2006) to become only the third nation to win the World Cup as the hosts.
The World Cup will go from January 13 to 29.
Much like Tokyo Olympics, there will be expectations on India to end a wait that has gone for decades. It’s been 47 years and counting since India last won the title, which is indeed their last medal in the tournament till date (to go with a silver and bronze before then).
FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup: Remembering India’s only gold medal in 1975
But there is hope again this time around.
Head coach Graham Reid is getting the best out of the group, injecting a tactical discipline to their trademark skilful, fluid playing style, making them a team both respected and feared in equal measure. The star of the show is Harmanpreet Singh, a fabulous defender and one of the best drag flickers in the game, while goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, midfield ace Manpreet Singh and striker Mandeep Singh all capable of game-changing moments.
Groups for the World Cup:
- 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
India’s squad for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, PR Sreejesh
Defenders: Jarmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (Captain), Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas (Vice Captain), Nilam Sanjeep Xess
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Akashdeep Singh
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek, Sukhjeet Singh
Alternate players: Rajkumar Pal, Jugraj Singh
|Shirt No.||Player||Date of Birth||Age*||Caps|
|4||Jarmanpreet Singh||18 Jul 1996||26||50|
|5||Abhishek||15 Aug 1999||23||28|
|6||Surender Kumar||23 Nov 1993||29||172|
|7||Manpreet Singh||26 Jun 1992||30||314|
|8||Hardik Singh||23 Sep 1998||24||84|
|11||Mandeep Singh||25 Jan 1995||27||194|
|12||Krishan Pathak (GK)||24 Apr 1997||25||80|
|13||Harmanpreet Singh (C)||6 Jan 1996||27||164|
|14||Lalit Kumar Upadhyay||1 Dec 1993||29||133|
|15||Nilam Sanjeep Xess||7 Nov 1998||24||34|
|16||PR Sreejesh (GK)||8 May 1988||34||274|
|18||Nilakanta Sharma||2 May 1995||27||91|
|21||Shamsher Singh||29 Jul 1997||25||47|
|22||Varun Kumar||25 Jul 1995||27||118|
|25||Raj Kumar Pal (Reserve)||1 May 1998||24||25|
|27||Akashdeep Singh||2 Dec 1994||28||218|
|30||Amit Rohidas||10 May 1993||29||131|
|31||Jugraj Singh (Reserve)||11 Dec 1996||26||26|
|32||Vivek Sagar Prasad||25 Feb 2000||22||90|
|34||Sukhjeet Sing||5 Dec 1996||26||16|
|Average age: 27||Average caps: 114|
Player to watch: Harmanpreet Singh. 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 both 2021 and 2022, Also finished top scorer of the 2021-22 edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League.
- Bhubaneswar, Kalinga Stadium: The Kalinga Hockey Stadium has become a hub of hockey for nearly a decade. The stadium which hosted its first major international tournament when it was awarded the hosting rights to the Champions Trophy in 2014. The success of the event prompted further action as the 2017 Hockey World League Finals saw the best 8 teams in the compete. A year later the Kalinga Stadium took center stage once again as the 2018 edition of the men’s World Cup was also played in Bhubaneswar. Since then, the Kalinga Stadium has been the home of the Indian hockey team, with the men’s and women’s teams have played their home matches during the FIH Hockey Pro League. In 2021, the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup was also played in the Kalinga Stadium.
- Rourkela, Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium: The Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium is built on 15 acres of land at the Biju Patnaik University of Technology campus in Rourkela. The stadium is said to have a massive seating capacity of 21,000, even more than the Kalinga. The stadium is named after Birsa Munda, an Indian tribal freedom fighter. Rourkela is one of the biggest cities in the state of Odisha, well known for being home to various industrial establishments, specifically large scale steel and mineral industries. The city also occupies a central position in the Sundargarh district, in the eastern hockey belt of the state of Odisha, that has produced scores of top hockey talents for India, including the former Indian skipper Dilip Tirkey, who is the most capped player in the history of Indian men’s hockey, and currently serves as the president of Hockey India.
As he did at Tokyo Olympics, it will be Graham Reid – former Australia player and coach too – who will be overseeing India’s quest for a podium finish in Odisha.
India's support staff
|Head Coach||Graham Reid|
|Team Manager||Shivendra Singh|
|Assistant Coach||Gregg Clark|
|Physical Trainer||Arup Naskar|
|Physical Trainer||Mitch Pemberton|
India’s Pool D Schedule
India find themselves in a tricky pool with closely bunched teams in terms of current world rankings.
England, India and Spain are ranked 5th, 6th and 8th respectively in the FIH men’s team rankings, while Wales are in 15th position.
India have played recently against Spain (FIH Pro League at home) and England as well Wales (same group at CWG 2022).
- India vs Spain on 13 January at 7 PM (Rourkela)
- India vs England on 15 January at 7 PM (Rourkela)
- India vs Wales on 19 January at 7 PM (Bhubaneswar)
The top team from each pool will directly qualify for the quarterfinals while teams placed second and third will enter a crossover phase and four winners from that phase will complete the last eight.
More details on the format here.
Brief history of the World Cup
While the World Cup was a relatively late addition to the international hockey calendar compared to the Olympic Games, the men’s tournament has now completed over 50 years in existence, with the first edition having been played in 1971. In the 14 editions of the World Cup so far, India have won gold only once, coming in 1975.
The most successful team in the history of FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup can is Pakistan, who were the champions of the inaugural edition of the event. They have a total of 4 gold medals. Through the first 8 editions of the men’s World Cup, Pakistan amassed 4 gold and 2 silver. Pakistan won their fourth gold medal at the World Cup in Sydney in 1994, and no other team has been able to equal their gold medal tally so far. Their decline in recent past, however, has meant that they have not even qualified for this edition.
Australia and Netherlands come in next with 3 gold medals each. Australia have won a total of 10 medals at the World Cups, which is the most amongst all nations in terms of overall tally. Australia’s tally includes 3 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 5 bronze medals. Netherlands have won 9 medals at the Men’s World Cups with 3 golds, 4 silver medals and 2 bronze medals. Both Netherlands and Australia were amongst the medals at the 2018 World Cup, with Netherlands finishing runners-up behind Belgium, while Australia won the bronze medal.
India and Belgium are the other two teams to have won gold medals at the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup, with India’s victory coming in 1975, while Belgium are the reigning world champions, having won the gold in the 2018 edition.
India, Netherlands and Spain are the only teams to have appeared in all 14 editions so far and will make it 15 out of 15 this time around. A total of 26 nations have competed at the 14 editions of the men’s World Cup so far. Chile and Wales will take the number up to 28 as they make their debuts.
India’s rank in previous HWC (men’s) editions:
1971 – 3rd
1973 – 2nd
1975 – 1st
1978 – 6th
1982 – 5 th
1986 – 12th
1990 – 10th
1994 – 5th
1998 – 9th
2002 – 10th
2006 – 11th
2010 – 8th
2014 – 9th
2018 – 6th
The tournament is broadcast on Star Sports network and Disney+Hotstar in India. The tournament is also available for free on Fancode.
With FIH media team inputs