For Uttam Singh, one of the best players on the junior circuit over the past couple of years, the 2023 FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup represents his final chance of winning a junior World Cup medal.

Singh has won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Sultan of Johor Cup and also led India to the Junior Asia Cup 2023 title. Singh, however, missed out on a World Cup medal when India finished fourth at the 2021 edition.

India go into the tournament, which will be held from December 5 to 16 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as one of the favourites for a podium place and perhaps even the title.

India have enjoyed a fruitful 2023 on the road to the World Cup. They began the year by winning their fourth junior Asia Cup before finishing second in the Four Nations tournament in Germany. Though they failed to defend their Sultan of Johor title, India finished third to go into the World Cup in good form.

India at the World Cup

India have competed in 10 of the 12 World Cups and are the second-most successful country after Germany. India have won the title twice, in 2001 and 2016 and finished as runners-up in the 1997 edition.

At the 2021 edition held in Bhubaneswar, India finished fourth after losing to France 3-1 in the bronze medal match.

All-time list of Medallists

Year Host Gold Silver Bronze
1979 Versailles, France Pakistan West Germany Netherlands
1982 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia West Germany Australia Pakistan
1985 Vancouver, Canada West Germany Netherlands Pakistan
1989 Ipoh, Malaysia West Germany Australia Pakistan
1993 Terrassa, Spain Germany Pakistan Australia
1997 Milton Keynes, England Australia India Germany
2001 Hobart, Australia India Argentina Germany
2005 Rotterdam, Netherlands Argentina Australia Spain
2009 Johor Bahru, Malaysia and Singapore Germany Netherlands Australia
2013 New Delhi, India Germany France Netherlands
2016 Lucknow, India India Belgium Germany
2021 Bhubaneswar, India Argentina Germany France

Finals of Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup

2021: Argentina 4-2 Germany

2016: India 2-1 Belgium

2013: Germany 5-2 France

2009: Germany 3-1 Netherlands

2005: Argentina 2-1 Australia

2001: India 6-1 Argentina

1997: Australia 3-2 India

1993: Germany 3-1 Pakistan 

1989: West Germany 1 (4)-(2) 1 Australia

1985: West Germany 4-1 Netherlands

1983: West Germany 4-1 Australia

1979: Pakistan 2-0 West Germany

Pool A: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Malaysia

Pool B: Egypt, France, Germany, South Africa

Pool C: Canada, India, South Korea, Spain

Pool D: Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan

A top two finish in the Pool is the only way to secure a place in the competition quarter-finals 

India’s campaign

Junior world No 3 India are drawn in pool C with Canada (world No 14), South Korea (world No 11) and Spain (world No 6). Uttam Singh and Co are favourites to qualify for the quarter-finals as table toppers.

India will take confidence from the fact that they recorded comfortable wins over both Spain and South Korea in their only meetings this year. At the junior Asia Cup, India thumped South Korea 9-1 in the semi-final before winning the title.

Two months later, they beat Spain 6-2 at the Four Nations tournament where they finished second after losing to Germany in the final.

India and Spain have played each other seven time in junior World Cups with India winning three matches and Spain winning four times including in the bronze medal playoff match in the 2005 edition.

The last time they met were in the quarter-final of the 2016 junior World Cup where India came back from 0-1 down to beat Spain 2-1. India would go on to clinch the title.

India are unbeaten against South Korea in World Cups having won one match and drawn the other while they have beaten Canada all five times they met them in World Cups.

The matches will be broadcast on Viacom Sports 18 – 3 and Sports 18 – 1 HD, as well as live-streamed on JioCinema.

Indian squad for 2023 Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup

Goalkeepers: Mohith HS, Ranvijay Singh Yadav 

Defenders: Shardanand Tiwari, Amandeep Lakra, Rohit, Sunil JoJo, Amir Ali 

Midfielders: Vishnukant Singh, Poovanna CB, Rajinder Singh, Amandeep, Aditya Singh 

Forwards: Uttam Singh (C), Aditya Lalage, Araijeet Singh Hundal (VC), Sourabh Anand Kushwaha, Sudeep Chirmako, Boby Singh Dhami

India’s Pool Matches

December 5: Vs Canada at 3.30pm IST

December 7: Vs Spain at 5.30pm IST

December 9: Vs South Korea at 3.30pm IST