A multi-million Hockey World Cup of ‘hope’ | Hockey News

ROURKELA: Hope. That’s the central theme of Men’s 2023 World Hockey League. There is nothing but hope that must wait 48 years. So is the story. The expectations are similar. Timing, though, is a lot different. In 1975, when India won its only World Cup championship, the team became world champions. In 2023, after rare World Cups spanning nearly five decades, hope is the only familiar aspect.
In theory, however, there is a welcome difference from any World Cup India has hosted since 1982 in Bombay. As the bronze medalist of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, this World Cup will be the first time an Indian team has competed as a medalist from the previous Olympics.
Just 526 days after winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, India will face Spain to open their World Cup campaign on Friday in the multi-million Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium (BMHS) in Rourkela — an incredible sight worth more than Rs 250 cores.

BMHS has become a center of attraction during World Cup preparations — for its magnificence as well as the ongoing construction work even the day before the tournament begins. But the most important thing is the readiness to open the curtain.
The 15th edition of the FIFA Men’s World Cup opened with a star-studded ceremony on January 12, but for some reason did not take place at the two FIFA World Cup venues. It was held at Cuttack, which surprised many people.
The competition will open first at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium, which co-hosts the first two-city Men’s World Cup, with two afternoon matches on Friday. Rourkela will host two opening day evening matches, including India’s first snooker match against Spain, starting at 19:00 IST.
The world No 6 India team, placed in Group D alongside England, Spain and their Wales debutant, completed the final steps of preparations on Thursday – as coach Graham Reid running last minute checks mainly focused on the position of defenders inside the circle and cornering habits.


Corners are captain’s territory India and trump drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singhwho replaced? Manpreet Singh as captain in the second half of 2022.
India’s team analysis revolves around Harmanpreet’s slim fallback in the drag-flick division, as other specialist Jugraj Singh has been included in the two reserves.
But Harmanpreet is different, placing his weight behind vice-captain Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar and local boy Nilam Sanjeep Xess as alternatives capable of converting corners.

“I would say we have good saves. We have four in the team. We have variations and need to use them well,” said the India captain.
On paper, India’s toughest billiards game appears to be against England on 15 January, before they wrap up their 19 January billiards match against Wales in Bhubaneswar. But Spain’s tenacity can never be underestimated, especially after they brought in the insidious Max Caldas as coach last year.
However, the Spaniards are relying on youth, which is in stark contrast to India, where players like PR Sreejesh play in the fourth and third World Cups on Indian soil. But the Spanish team has players like Joaquin MeniniThe Argentine tennis player won the 2016 Olympic gold medal but switched to playing for Spain after a dispute with the Argentine federation.
“Be careful with young people; they have a much higher capacity for performance than they think they can, and have nothing to fear. They have nothing to lose. Better yet. you should watch out for teams like that. That’s the reality,” India told coach Reid about the Spanish youth team.

“I think sometimes experience is a bit overrated, especially in a major tournament like this. We just have to play our best. That’s the key of this tournament for us, in terms of what’s going on. showing in what we can and can achieve,” added Reid, who joined the Indian team as a coach after the last World Cup.
It will also be interesting to see the Spanish team, which has made a comeback in world hockey, handle the pressure of competing in a stadium packed with cheering fans. India like.
Reid said that while crowd support is motivating for players, it can also become a double-edged sword if not instilled.
“It’s about staying present. That’s what we talk about a lot about staying focused. If the pressure is on you, if you’re nervous, it means you’re doing the wrong thing. It means you are thinking about something that will happen in the future or something that has happened in the past,” said the India coach.
“So it’s a matter of understanding and getting to the point where you can let it push you, as you say, but you don’t go overboard.”
Easier said than done, when you know you have to finish at the top to avoid the pressure of that side game in crossovers.
The top team in each of the four groups gets straight to the quarterfinals, while the second and third placed teams play cross-matches.
India’s table is by far the hardest of the four, with Australia expected to top Group A. There could be a scramble between defending champions Belgium and Germany for place. top of Group B, and the Netherlands would love their chance to go straight to the group stage. quarters from Pool C.
That makes Group D the most open, and possibly death group, with England, India and Spain all in a race that could end with a picture of the finish for the top spot.
Friday is a big day and the steel city of Rourkela, which has been getting ready for the World Cup, is expected to buzz in and around the massive ‘bowl’ of Birsa Hockey Stadium Munda. And if India learns its lesson well and is able to recreate Tokyo in Odisha, then the long-standing ‘hope’ will come true and the painful ‘wait’ will end on January 29.


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