The 15th edition of the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup takes place in Odisha, with the Indian state hosting the tournament for the second straight time. The 2018 World Cup was played in Bhubaneswar but the 2023 edition sees the tournament go to two venues: the iconic Kalinga Stadium in the capital and the newly-built Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela.

Belgium, who won the trophy in 2018, enter the tournament as one of the favourites. And one look at the table below tells you the sort of experience they carry with them. Only nine players among the 16 squads have played more than 300 matches at the senior level and five of them are Belgians. Top of the table is their talismanic No 7 John-John Dohmen who has 436 caps to his name.

Eddie Ockenden from Australia recently crossed the magical milestone of 400 caps during India’s tour Down Under for a five-match Test series.

Among Indians, captain at Tokyo Olympics Manpreet Singh features in the list, having played 314 times for the senior national team.

Most capped players at HWC2023

Team name Player Date of Birth Age* Caps
BELGIUM  John-John DOHMEN 24 Jan 1988 34 436
AUSTRALIA Eddie OCKENDEN  3 Apr 1987 35 402
BELGIUM Felix DENAYER  31 Jan 1990 32 361
BELGIUM Cédric CHARLIER  27 Nov 1987 35 353
BELGIUM Tom BOON  25 Jan 1990 32 325
BELGIUM Simon GOUGNARD  17 Jan 1991 31 317
INDIA Manpreet Singh  26 Jun 1992 30 314
KOREA Jonghyun JANG  28 Mar 1984 38 309
MALAYSIA Razie RAHIM  25 Aug 1987 35 306
*As of 13 Jan 2013

While England and Wales have multiple players with caps for two countries (or NOCs, rather since they represent Team GB at the Olympics), there are three players who at this World Cup who have caps for two different countries. The most recognizable name among them is Gonazalo Peillat, the legendary Argentinian goalscorer who now plies his trade for Germany.

Players who have repped for multiple countries

Player Date of Birth Age* Caps Split caps
HAYWARD Leon (GK) 23 Apr 1990 32 37 37 (AUS 13, NZL 24)
PEILLAT Gonzalo 12 Aug 1992 30 165 165 (ARG 153, GER 12)
SLOAN Ian 19 Nov 1993 29 153 153 (ENG 74, GBR 60, IRL 19)
MENINI Joaquin 18 Aug 1991 31 138 138 (ARG 110, ESP 28)
Not including ENG+GBR and WAL+GBR for this list (*As of 13 Jan 2013)

There are only five teenagers across the 16 squads and two of them are from Japan.

Teenage squad members at HWC 2023

Team name Player Date of Birth Age*
JAPAN KAWAHARA Yamato 21 Jan 2004 18
SPAIN AMAT Pere 17 Sep 2004 18
ARGENTINA CAPURRO Bautista 22 Oct 2003 19
JAPAN KURODA Kisho (GK) 20 Nov 2003 19
NEW ZEALAND MORRISON Charlie 20 Jul 2003 19
(*As of 13 Jan 2013)

Korea who have the oldest squad at the tournament have two of the oldest players in their camp as well.

Oldest squad members at HWC 2023

Team name Player Date of Birth Age* Caps
KOREA LEE Namyong (C) 28 Sep 1983 39 295
KOREA JANG Jonghyun 28 Mar 1984 38 309
ARGENTINA REY Matias (C) 1 Dec 1984 38 253
KOREA LEE Seunghoon 20 Mar 1985 37 158
ARGENTINA VILA Lucas 23 Aug 1986 36 270
CHILE HENRIQUEZ Adrian (GK) 14 Jul 1986 36 130
(*As of 13 Jan 2013)

The average number of caps makes for fascinating reading. Normally, a squad that has an average of 132 caps per player (like the Kookaburras) or 115 (like Harmanpreet Singh’s India), would be considered one with exemplary experience.

Then you see Belgium, with the likes of Dohmen and Felix Denayer and Tom Boon... and their average number of caps per player goes up to a whopping 206.

Team Average number of caps
Belgium 206.30
Australia 131.60
India 114.45
Malaysia 105.25
England 93.55
Korea 92.05
Germany 91.60
New Zealand 82.75
France 82.65
Argentina 82.30
Wales 69.70
Netherlands 63.45
Chile 58.95
South Africa 54.25
Japan 54.10
Spain 52.70

Spain, as has been discussed in the lead-up, possess a rather young squad with the average age of 24 and correspondingly, they are also lowest placed in the list of average caps per player. The oldest squad in the tournament is Korea, followed by Belgium. Whether that plays a part in them getting found out by younger, perhaps pacier teams, remains to be seen.

India find themselves in a good mix in these two metrics it must be said. At third on the chart for average number of caps per player, the Indian team is mid-table for average age. Definitive proof for what head coach Graham Reid calls a good mix of youth and experience often.

Keep an eye out for Netherlands, a young team (Average age of 25.70) trying to re-find their groove at major events.

Team Average age
Spain 24.00
Japan 24.10
Netherlands 25.70
South Africa 25.75
France 26.00
Chile 26.15
Germany 26.40
Wales 26.45
India 26.60
New Zealand 26.80
England 27.25
Malaysia 27.35
Argentina 27.55
Australia 28.10
Belgium 29.55
Korea 30.10

Australia boast the highest win percentage at the men’s World Cups, winning 69 of the 92 matches they have played in, an astounding 75%! Netherlands have played the most number of matches at the World Cup, completing 100 matches in the finals of the 2018 World Cup, ahead of India, who have played 95 matches.

Australia also have produced the most attacking hockey at the World Cups, scoring 307 goals in the 92 matches, at a rate of 3.3 goals per game! Netherlands and Pakistan have the next best scoring averages, with Netherlands averaging 2.67 goals scored per game, and Pakistan averaging 2.64 goals per game. Australia also have a phenomenal defensive record at the World Cups, letting in just 107 goals in their 92 games, at an average of 1.16 per game.

India, Netherlands and Spain are the only teams to have appeared in all 14 editions so far, and all three teams will also appear at the upcoming World Cup, making it 15 appearances in a row. Argentina, Australia, England and Pakistan have appeared in 13 editions so far, with only Pakistan missing out on the 2023 edition.

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 debut appearances at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.

(for the 14 teams who have played in previous World Cups featuring at 2023 too)

And finally, India’s three medals at the men’s Hockey World Cup have come in the first three editions of the tournament and none since they won gold in 1975. All said and done, that is the stat that Indian players and fans will have their eyes on and hope another four-plus decade wait comes to an end... just as another wait ended in Tokyo in 2021.

Previous winners of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup

Pakistan: 4 – 1971, 1978, 1981, 1994 

Australia: 3 – 1986, 2010, 2014 

Netherlands: 3 – 1973, 1990, 1998 

Germany: 2 – 2002, 2006 

India: 1 – 1975 

Belgium 1 - 2018

With inputs from FIH Media

Squad age and caps data from TMS and includes 20-member squads for all teams (18 players plus two alternates).