Hockey World Cup: India handed tricky draw, placed along side England, Spain and Wales in Pool D

India were handed a tricky draw for the Hockey World Cup to be held in Odisha in January 2023, after they were placed alongside three European teams – England, Spain and Wales – in Pool D.

At world number 5, India are the highest-ranked team in the group but securing a direct berth for the quarterfinals won’t be straightforward for the hosts. In England (rank 6), they will face an opponent against whom they have a mixed record. Matches between India and England have often been high-scoring, with England having an edge in major events.

Spain (rank 8) have always been a tricky team to play against and have become stronger under former Netherlands coach Max Caldas and while Wales (rank 16) might seem weakest among the four teams, they have shown an ability to punch above their weight in European competitions.

The group winners will advance directly to the quarterfinals while the teams placed second and third will have to play crossover matches to determine their fate.

On paper, Pool D is the toughest pool with three evenly-matched teams fighting for the top spot for direct place in the last-8. Pool A comprises Australia, Argentina, France and South Africa. In Pool B, Belgium and Germany will battle it out for the top spot along with South Korea and Japan while the Netherlands, Chile, Malaysia and New Zealand form Pool C.

The 16-team event will be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29. This is the second consecutive World Cup to be held in India – and fourth overall.

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