The 2023 edition of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup is set to begin on January 13. The showpiece event will be held in Odisha for the second time in succession.
The hosts India are among the strong favourites. Harmanpreet Singh – led Team India put up a strong show at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where they won bronze.
Argentina and South Africa will kick-start the quadrennial event on Friday. The finals will be played on January 29.
This year, there are quite a few contenders to lift the coveted World Cup trophy. On the eve of the inaugural World Cup match, let us take a look at all the strong teams who could go all the way.
Top 5 Contenders For Hockey World Cup 2023 Trophy
Belgium are the defending champions and boast of a formidable squad. The continuity in a selection over the last four years has ensured consistent results for the Red Lions. Belgium’s World Cup squad features 17 players from their 2018 World Cup and Olympic-winning squad. Retired captain and forward Thomas Briels is the only one to miss out. Felix Denayer and Co will be eager to defend their crown.
The hosts are among the strong favourites. Harmanpreet Singh-led Team India put up a strong show at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where they won bronze. They followed that up with a silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. India has a rich legacy in hockey. However, India have won the Men’s World Cup only once in 1975 and their last top-five finish was in 1994. Team India will be looking to end the agonizing 48-year trophy drought at this World Cup. They will certainly enjoy strong home support in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.
Germany boasts of an experienced squad and will enter the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup. With players like Christopher Ruhr in great form, the Germans will certainly fancy their chances.
The Netherlands were defeated in the final in a penalty shootout by Belgium in 2018. The Dutch team will be aiming to bury the ghosts of that heart-breaking defeat in this World Cup. The Netherlands have been the runner-up for the last two World Cups and would want to revel in World Cup glory this time around.
World No. 1 Australia would want to lift the World Cup yet again. One can never count out the Aussies in any multi-nation tournament. Australia were defeated by the Netherlands in the quarterfinals in 2018 and will be aiming to make a deeper run this time around.
The three time World Cup winners have the best winning and goal-scoring records in the tournament’s 48-year history. They also have a relatively easy group and will take on Argentina, France and South Africa in Group A.
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