Thursday, March 30, 2023

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 defence and midfield.
| Photograph Credit score: Getty Photos

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 had been crammed based mostly on the boys’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 file 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 throughout the top-four since 1978. It has gained 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 gained all world stage occasions, had a effective 12 months as that they had a clear sweep of a four-match Check sequence towards Malaysia and a four-match Trans-Tasman Collection towards host New Zealand. Australia additionally gained 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 medallist India 7-0 within the remaining in Birmingham. Later, it gained a five-match Check sequence towards India 4-1 at residence.

The Olympic silver medallist, which needed to bear with the heart-breaking loss to Belgium via 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.

Identified for its optimum health and very attacking sport, 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 Check sequence towards India Down Below.

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With some members of its 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 prime contenders for the gold medal on the Odisha capital.

Key man: Eddie Ockenden, the extremely skilled participant who’s a key determine in defence 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 brilliant and artistic striker who’s able to scoring spectacular targets.
| Photograph Credit score: Getty Photos

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 file 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 (p.s. 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 an extended cherished dream to change into the world champion. It should have acquired some extra inspiration from the Argentina soccer group’s latest FIFA World Cup win in Qatar. It wish to enhance upon its 2014 bronze medal end — its finest consequence to this point — by a few notches to earn a uncommon double for the nation in group sports activities.

Argentina, which lifted the Pan America title for the 14th time, had some blended leads to the FIH Professional League. Its wins over World and Olympic champion Belgium and Nice Britain underline the inherent power within the aspect, coached by former Argentine goalkeeper Mariano Ronconi. It has taken a couple 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 aspect, consists of a great mixture of youth and expertise. Three members of the Rio Olympic champion aspect — Agustin Mazilli, Lucas Villa, Matias Rey (who was the Participant of the Match within the Pan American Cup) — proceed to carry out exceptionally properly regardless of being of their 30s and can present the much-required steadiness to the group in essential conditions.Along with the 18-member squad, the group can have two additional gamers who will journey with the group as doable replacements.

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Traditionally, Argentina has been a part of each version of the World Cup barring the one in 1998. The truth that it has not completed exterior the top-eight within the final three editions is proof of its constant displaying lately.

Key man: Maico Casella, a wise and artistic striker who’s able to scoring spectacular targets.

3. France (WR 12)

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

Frenchman Timothee Clement, who was adjudged the very best participant of the junior World Cup in 2021, is proficient 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 file 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 amazing file within the World Cup, however it’s actually a rising power in world hockey.

Bhubaneswar has been a contented searching 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 12 months.

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 undoubtedly 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.

Nonetheless, the group has gone via a well-planned preparatory section, balancing restoration and bodily actions, and has acquired again the providers of six gamers who had been injured in the course of the Nations Cup.

Penalty nook skilled Victor Charlet and attacker Timothee Clement, who was adjudged 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 amongst of the important thing members of the French aspect.

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With a transparent thoughts and well-constructed method, the Fred Be-coached aspect will likely be eager to ‘achieve great performances and have no regrets.’

Key man: Timothee Clement, a proficient 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 Photos

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 file 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 properly in prime stage occasions for the final 18 months and can fancy its possibilities of a greater final result than its earlier finest end of tenth place within the World Cup.

Beating hockey powerhouse Germany within 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 minimize for the 2023-24 FIH Professional League are a number of the main highlights of South Africa’s displaying 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 remaining (after shedding to the identical group earlier within the match) in entrance of its residence crowd.

Coached by Cheslyn Gie, the group 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 match.

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

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

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

It is going to be attention-grabbing to see how the South African aspect, having an excellent mixture of exuberance and experience, fares towards its opponents in one of many hardest swimming pools of the World Cup.

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

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