FIH Men's Hockey World Cup 2023: It is time for the boys in blue to represent India one more time. The Hockey World Cup will start on January 13, 2023. The Indian men's Hockey team is all set to start a new journey and they will clash against Spain in the opening game. The first match will be played at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela, Odisha. Interestingly, India is the only team to have participated in every edition of the tournament. team India will make its 15th appearance at the tournament in 2023.
It has been 48 years since India lifted the coveted trophy. Since 1975, their best finish came in the 1994 edition where they were placed 5th. This time around the scenario is a bit different as compared to the previous other editions. Team India secured an Olympic bronze medal in 2021 and the World Cup will also be played in their home conditions. A medal in this showpiece will strengthen the claim that the former giants of the game with eight Olympic gold have turned the corner in world hockey. India also claimed silver in the 1973 event. Ajit Pal Singh led the side to a title triumph in 1975 but since then they have failed to even reach the semifinals. As dismal as it sounds, the Indian outfit could not go past the group stage between 1978 to 2014.
Since Graham Reid took over the head coach's position in 2019, India's stature has grown.He has been able to get the best out of the players, injecting a tactical discipline into their trademark skillful, fluid playing style, making them a team that is respected and feared in equal measure. Currently ranked sixth in the world, India have come into the tournament after an impressive show against the world number one side Australia in an away five-match series though they lost the rubber 1-4. The Indian team, no doubt, would be one of the medal contenders with the talented bunch led by Harmanpreet Singh emerging as a force to reckon with. The team has earned respect from other top countries in recent times.
India Squad: 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 Squad: Andreas Rafi, Alejandro Alonso, Cesar Curiel, Xavi Gispert, Borja Lacalle, Álvaro Iglesias, Ignacio Rodríguez, 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.