India have started their FIH Hockey world Cup campaign on a high note by defeating Spain in the opening match on Friday. The men in blue were in a dominating position since the 1st quarter with Amit Rohidas converting the first goal for them. Even though Spain initially had the upper had with a possession percentage better than India initially, Team India soon took the charge and turned the tables by ending the game 2-0.
Hardik Singh converted the second goal for India in the second quarter putting his team in a strong position to win. Both teams failed to score a single goal in the third quarter with India maintaining their lead and Spain failing to convert penalty corners. When the game came to the fourth quarter, Abhishek was handed over a 10 minute suspension. However, this didn't change Spain's fate as they failed to convert goal in the last quarter as well.
16 teams which are divided into 4 groups are participating in the tournament. With India placed in pool D along with England, Spain and Wales. India has been waiting for the World Cup trophy for 47 years. They last won the Hockey World Cup trophy in 1975 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After this, the men in blue never got a chance to lift any trophy in this global event. Team India won the World Cup last time by defeating arch-rivals Pakistan.
India are set to play their next match on the 15th of January against England in Rourkela. On the other hand, Spain will face Wales on the same day ahead of India's game.
Line-ups for the opening match:
Team India -
Playing XI: PR Sreejesh, Surender Kumar, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Mandeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Shamsher Singh, Varun Kumar, Akashdeep Singh, Amit Rohidas, Sukhjeet Singh
Substitutes: Jarmanpreet Singh, Abhishek, Krishan Pathak, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Nilakanta Sharma, Vivek Sagar Prasad
Team Spain -
Playing XI: Adrian Rafi, Marc Miralles, Alejandro Alonso, Xavier Gispert, Enrique Gonzalez, Alvaro Iglesias, Jordi Bonastre, Pepe Cunill, Joaquin Menini, Ignacio Rodriguez, Borja Lacalle
Substitutes: Mario Garin, Marc Recasens, Marc Reyne, Pau Cunill, Marc Vizcaino, Cesar Curiel, Gerard Clapes