The 14th edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup is about to begin from 28th November of this month in Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. The Indian squad is surely on a happy, confident side after their power-packed performance in the recently concluded Asian Champions Trophy. They were held as joint winners along with Pakistan at the tournament.
There are 16 teams that will be participating neck to neck in the 18-days long tournament, putting up their equally strong performances to clinch that World Cup trophy. India is a part of Pool C team and will be playing their group stage matches.
In a recent interview with TOI, the coach of the Indian National Men’s hockey team, Harendra Singh said the team is bang-on ready for the tournament.
Harendra Singh quoted, “We remained unbeaten throughout the tournament. It has had a very positive impact on the players and their confidence level is really high for the World Cup. However, we looked a bit disappointed that rain played a spoilsport in the final, otherwise it would have been a great finish for the Indian players.”
The Indian team is thoroughly working upon their strategy for the World Cup. This strategy will help them put their best foot forward against each of the participating teams.
All sixteen teams participating in the big tournament are on equal grounds, including India. With a collective effort of the team, what they need is to rectify their mistakes and strikers can be a bit more aggressive. Hence, devising a proper match by match strategy against each participating team, will help them perform efficiently and most important, triumphantly.
To note, there are 34 probable in the national camp. The ones performing top-class will make it to the top 18 member-team.
Also, Manpreet Singh, mid-fielder of the Indian squad recently quoted, “We have not lost a single match, which has definitely given a morale boost to the team. Mistakes happen and we cannot play all the matches equally. We have to work more on defence and attacking side.”
As far as the selection trials are concerned, the players will be selected on the basis of fitness, sharpness and consistency.
In India’s Pool Team, there will be a sure-shortedly tough fight between Belgium and hosts India as they have delivered high-end performances in Asian Champions Trophy, which concluded recently.
The format of the tournament is as such that there will be 4 pools with 4 teams in each of them. There will be 6 group stages matches, where teams from the same pool will be giving a tough competition to each other. The teams who will be topping the charts of their pool will be qualifying for the quarterfinals. The second and third teams will be playing their playoff matches. The last positioned teams will be directly eliminated from the tournament.
Pool B Teams:
Pool C Teams
- South Africa
Pool D Teams
India’s Matches in this Tournament – Group Stage
India will be beginning their world cup campaign against South Africa on 28th November. After this, they will be playing their next group stage match against high-in-form Belgium on 2nd December. India will then be playing against Canada on 8th December.
— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) December 20, 2017
After this, the quarterfinals will begin from 10th December. The mega finale of the tournament will be on 16th December.
India will miss the energy of its top player Sardar Singh
This World Cup hockey season, the Indian team will be missing the presence of the experienced 32-year old stalwart Sardar Singh. Undoubtedly, Singh’s experience would have lent the Indian squad a better positioning at the upcoming Hockey World Cup.
Sardar Singh announced his retirement from the international hockey after Asian Games.
Sardar Singh became a part of the Indian National team in 2006 and was agile fast centre-forward and a midfielder as well. Sardar’s vision greatly improved the attacking and defensive play side of the Indian team.
Singh strongly believes that the current hockey team of India has the full potential of making it to the top-4. “I think we should reach the semi-finals. Once we are at that stage and with the crowd behind us, anything can happen. But the first target should be to get mentally strong and avoid repeating mistakes”, Sardar Singh quoted.
World Cup Hockey tickets are flying off faster than the speed of light
Barely after an hour after the sale of World Cup hockey tickets began at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, had the tickets started selling out in a blink of an eye.
Fans that started queuing up from 6 in the morning, were quite disappointed as some of them had to return empty-handed, just one-hour after the sale began.
Truly, with India as a host of the upcoming hockey world cup, Hockey fever is building up fast and the mad rush for its tickets are telling it all.