FIH World Cup, Group A: Australia, Argentina the heavyweights

1. Australia (WR 1)

Aussie skipper Eddie Ockenden is a extremely skilled participant and a key determine in protection and midfield. | Photograph Credit score: Getty Pictures

The way it certified: Oceania quota (The Oceania Cup couldn’t be accomplished earlier than the qualification deadline resulting from journey restrictions associated to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2 Oceania quota locations have been crammed based mostly on the lads’s FIH world rankings)

Earlier World Cups: 1971 – eighth, 1975 – fifth, 1978 – third, 1982 – third, 1986 – 1st, 1990 – third, 1994 – third, 1998 – 4th, 2002 – 2nd, 2006 – 2nd, 2010 – 1st, 2014 – 1st, 2018 – third.

World Cup document towards India: 6 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss

1975: India 1-1 Australia (pool stage); 1978: India 2-0 Australia (pool stage); 1982: India 1-2 Australia (pool stage); 1986: India 0-6 Australia (pool stage); 1990: India 2-3 Australia (pool stage); 2002: India 3-4 Australia (pool stage); 2010: India 2-5 Australia (pool stage); 2014: India 0-4 Australia (pool stage).

World No. 1 Australia is likely one of the most constant performers within the World Cup, having completed inside the top-four since 1978. It has received medals 10 instances — together with within the final 5 editions — out of its 13 appearances. The three-time champion, coached by former striker Colin Batch, will hope to proceed with its sensational type in 2022 and safe its record-equalling fourth crown in Bhubaneswar.

The Kookaburras, who’ve received all world degree occasions, had a nice yr as they’d a clear sweep of a four-match Take a look at collection towards Malaysia and a four-match Trans-Tasman Sequence towards host New Zealand. Australia additionally received three out of 5 matches (towards Spain and Netherlands) on the European Tour earlier than claiming its seventh successive Commonwealth Video games gold medal by thrashing Olympic bronze medalist India 7-0 within the ultimate in Birmingham. Later, it received a five-match Take a look at collection towards India 4-1 at house.

The Olympic silver medalist, which needed to bear with the heart-breaking loss to Belgium by means of penalty shootouts within the Tokyo Olympics gold medal match, has a number of gamers with confirmed pedigree — together with two-time World Cup winner Eddie Ockenden, a participant with 400- plus worldwide outings, Jeremy Hayward, Jake Whetton and Aran Zalewski — in addition to 5 World Cup debutants.

Recognized for its optimum health and intensely attacking recreation, Australia will likely be armed with a number of succesful goal-scorers like Nathan Ephraums, Blake Govers, Flynn Ogilvie and Tom Craig, who shone within the latest Take a look at collection towards India Down Underneath.

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With some members of his squad having performed in two World Cups and as many Olympic Video games, Australia — which bagged a bronze in Bhubaneswar within the 2018 version — will likely be one of many high contenders for the gold medal on the Odisha capital.

Key man: Eddie Ockenden, the extremely skilled participant who’s a key determine in protection and midfield.

2. Argentina (WR 7)

Argentina's Maico Casella is a smart and creative striker who is capable of scoring spectacular goals.

Argentina’s Maico Casella is a great and artistic striker who’s able to scoring spectacular targets. | Photograph Credit score: Getty Pictures

The way it certified: First place, 2022 Pan American Cup

Earlier World Cups: 1971 – tenth, 1973 – ninth, 1975 – eleventh, 1978 – eighth, 1982 – twelfth, 1986 – sixth, 1990 – ninth, 1994 – seventh, 2002 – sixth, 2006 – tenth, 2010 – seventh, 2014 – third, 2018 –seventh.

World Cup document towards India: 4 wins, 3 losses

1971: India 1-0 Argentina (pool stage); 1975: India 1-2 Argentina (pool stage); 1978: India 3-2 Argentina (5-8 locations classification); 1990: India 3-5 Argentina (pool stage); 1994: India 2-2 Argentina (ps India 4-1 Argentina) (5-8 locations classification); 2006: India 2-3 Argentina (9-12 locations classification); 2010: India 2-4 Argentina (7-8 playoff).

For the 2016 Rio Olympics champion, it has been a long-cherished dream to turn out to be the world champion. It should have acquired some extra inspiration from the Argentina soccer crew’s latest FIFA World Cup win in Qatar. It want to enhance upon its 2014 bronze medal end — its greatest consequence to this point — by a few notches to earn a uncommon double for the nation in crew sports activities.

Argentina, which lifted the Pan American title for the 14th time, had some combined leads to the FIH Professional League. Its wins over World and Olympic champion Belgium and Nice Britain underline the inherent energy within the facet, coached by former Argentine goalkeeper Mariano Ronconi. It has taken a number of positives from its losses to the Netherlands and Nice Britain within the Professional League to plug the loopholes forward of the showpiece occasion.

The Los Leones, at all times a technically sound, quick and energetic facet, consists of a great mixture of youth and expertise. Three members of the Rio Olympic champion facet — Agustin Mazilli, Lucas Villa, Matias Rey (who was the Participant of the Match within the Pan American Cup) — proceed to carry out exceptionally effectively regardless of being of their 30s and can present the much-required stability to the crew in essential conditions. Along with the 18-member squad, the crew may have two further gamers who will journey with the crew as doable replacements.

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Traditionally, Argentina has been a part of each version of the World Cup sweeping the one in 1998. The truth that it has not completed outdoors the top-eight within the final three editions is proof of its constant exhibiting in recent times.

keyman: Maico Casella, a sensible and artistic striker who’s able to scoring spectacular targets.

3. France (WR 12)

Frenchman Timothee Clement, who was awarded the best player of the junior World Cup in 2021, is talented and versatile.

Frenchman Timothee Clement, who was awarded the very best participant of the junior World Cup in 2021, is gifted and versatile. | Photograph Credit score: BISWARANJAN ROUT

The way it certified: Second place, European Qualifier

Earlier World Cups: 1971 – seventh, 1990 – seventh, 2018 – eighth

World Cup document towards India: 1 win, 1 loss

1971: India 1-0 France (pool stage); 1990: India 1-2 France (pool stage)

Having performed in simply three editions, France might not have an incredible document within the World Cup, however it’s actually a rising drive in world hockey.

Bhubaneswar has been a cheerful looking floor for Les Bleus because it made it to the quarterfinals on its return to the World Cup after 28 years and earned a 3rd place end within the junior World Cup final yr.

Its second consecutive World Cup qualification highlights the nation’s progress.

France participated within the 2021-22 version of the FIH Professional League, registering wins towards India, South Africa and Argentina earlier than incomes its World Cup ticket with a second-place end on the European Qualification occasion in Cardiff. A fifth place on the latest FIH Nations Cup in South Africa was positively under its expectations, however France performed 4 pleasant matches and recorded wins over South Korea, Germany and Spain and a draw towards Wales to arrange for the showpiece occasion after lacking two matches resulting from logistic issues.

However, the crew has gone by means of a well-planned preparatory part, balancing restoration and bodily actions, and has acquired again the companies of six gamers who have been injured throughout the Nations Cup.

Penalty nook professional Victor Charlet and attacker Timothee Clement, who was awarded the very best participant of the junior World Cup and was the second highest goal-scorer of the occasion earlier than being named FIH Rising Star of the Yr 2021-22, are among the many key members of the French facet.

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With a transparent thoughts and well-constructed method, the Fred Be-coached facet will likely be eager to ‘obtain nice performances and haven’t any regrets.’

keyman: Timothee Clement, a gifted and versatile participant.

4. South Africa (WR 14)

South Africa's Dayaan Cassiem is a livewire forward capable of breaching the best of defences.

South Africa’s Dayaan Cassiem is a livewire ahead able to breaching the very best of defences. | Photograph Credit score: Getty Pictures

The way it certified: First place, 2022 Africa Cup of Nations

Earlier World Cups: 1994 – tenth, 2002 – thirteenth, 2006 – twelfth, 2010 – tenth, 2014 – eleventh, 2018 – sixteenth

World Cup document towards India: 3 attracts, 2 losses

1994: India 2-2 South Africa (pool stage); 2006: India 1-1 South Africa (pool stage); India 1-0 South Africa (11-12 playoff); 2010: India 3-3 South Africa (pool stage); 2018: India 5-0 South Africa (pool stage)

South Africa has been performing effectively in high degree occasions for the final 18 months and can fancy its probabilities of a greater end result than its earlier greatest end of tenth place within the World Cup.

Beating hockey powerhouse Germany on the Tokyo Olympics, successful the African Cup to qualify for the World Cup, ending fourth within the Birmingham Commonwealth Video games and successful the FIH Nations Cup to make the reduce for the 2023-24 FIH Professional League are a few of the main highlights of South Africa’s exhibiting within the run-up to the occasion in Odisha. South Africa will take coronary heart from its victories over Pakistan, France and Korea and an exhilarating 4-3 grudge win over Eire within the Nations Cup ultimate (after dropping to the identical crew earlier within the event) in entrance of its house crowd.

Coached by Cheslyn Gie, the crew will likely be captained by the inspirational 23-year-old Dayaan Cassiem, who scored twice within the Nations Cup summit conflict and was named the participant of the event.

Dayaan, his youthful brother Mustaphaa and Man Morgan, one of many main scorers within the 2021 Junior World Cup, signify the thrilling youthful era within the squad.

Striker Tevin Kok will likely be an essential cog within the wheel of South African assault.

Defending Jethro Eustice (166 worldwide caps), Keenan Horne (101 caps), Dan Bell (90 caps) and Bili Ntuli (87 caps) would be the most skilled palms on the facet.

It will likely be attention-grabbing to see how the South African facet, having a really perfect mixture of exuberance and experience, fares towards its opponents in one of many hardest swimming pools of the World Cup.

keyman: Dayaan Cassiem, a livewire ahead able to breaching the very best of defences.

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