Sixteen of the worlds top men’s field hockey teams have arrived in India sometime in the last two weeks in preparation for the 2018 Men’s Field Hockey World Cup. What felt like it was ages away is finally here. Tomorrow the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup official kicks off with Pool C battling it out. The athletes and everyone involved in the tournament couldn’t be more amped after the magnificent opening ceremony put on tonight by Hockey India.
What is the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup?
It’s one of field hockey’s biggest stages and something that athletes, coaches, and teams train and work for all their lives.
Every four years, in the mid-cycle between the Summer Olympic games, there’s the hockey world cup. While the Olympics are be the “pinnacle event for the sport”, the Olympics feature many sports, so interest in hockey is diluted. For that reason there are some who argue the world cup is the best field hockey event on the calendar. Also there are 16 teams competing in the Hockey World Cup, four more than compete in the Olympics.
Held since 1971, this intense tournament is run by the International Hockey Federation (IHF). This year, there are 16 nations who have qualified and will be fighting for the 2018 Men’s Field Hockey World Cup title. This is a battle you won’t want to miss!
Where is it?
In Bhubaneswar, India at the Kalinga Stadium – which now seats 15,000 crazy mad hockey fans. Playing in India in front of the passionate hockey fans is electric and matched with this large fan base, people are expecting a pretty amazing fan experience!
This venue is famous to hockey fans in India as it was the location of the 2014 Men’s Hero Hockey Champions Trophy, it is also home to the Coal India Hockey India League franchise Kalinga Lancers, winners of the 2017 League title.
This stadium is only a 3 minutes drive from the the city center of Bhubaneswar and a nine minute drive from the Biju Patnaik International Airport. The city of Bhubaneswar is in the Odisha region on the east side of India about an hour inland.
How Will the Event Be Structured?
November 28th = Pool Play
- The first 8 days of the tournament are pool play. The winners of these pools gain a spot in the Quarter Final, while the 2nd and 3rd places in each pool move on to the cross-over matches.
December 10th – December 11th = Cross-Over Matches
- The 2nd and 3rd place teams in each pool play each other to see who moves on to play in the Quarter Finals.
December 12th -13th = Quarter Finals
- During this time frame, the first place team in each pool will go against the winners of the Quarter Finals—basically, this will be a huge deciding moment for those remaining teams.
December 14th= Off Day
December 15th= Semi- Finals
- The teams who win these matches will, of course, be moving on to the Finals. Be prepared for some intense playing during these games!
December 16th= Finals
- 16:30 pm (IST) – Bronze Medal Match
- 19:00 pm (IST) – Gold Medal Match
Who’s competing in the Pools?
Here is the list of pools and their fierce contenders for the gold!
Pool A – Argentina, France, New Zealand, Spain
Pool B – Australia, China, England, Ireland,
Pool C – Belgium, Canada, India, South Africa
Pool D –Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan
Who are the World Cup Favorites?
Australia – Ranked #1 in the world, this team knows how to perform at the World Cup which they proved in their undefeated run in 2014
Argentina – The Los Leona’s team is just coming off the win of the Rio Olympics. What’s more? This team is currently ranked 2nd in the world.
Belgium – Having never won a World Cup before, the 3rd World Ranked Belgian Lion are knocking. The team won Silver in the Rio Olympics and have gold on the mind.
India – They have just climbed world rankings into 5th place. The momentum they are carrying, on top of the advantage of playing at home infront of their rowdy crowd, also has them sitting in a very good position.
Who Won it Last Time?
In 2014, Australia had an extremely strong performance and finished the 2014 World Cup undefeated with a goal difference of 27. Australia beat the Netherlands 6–1 in the finals, and Argentina defeated England 2–0 in the third-place match.
Only five countries have ever won the World Cup. Pakistan won the title four times, while Australia and the Netherlands have each won the title three times, Germany has won the title twice and India has won it once.
Our ‘Games to Watch’ in Pool Play:
Even for the biggest field hockey aficionado, the 2018 Field Hockey World Cup may prove to hold too many games for one to watch. You do have a life to live and responsibilities to tend to, after all.
So if you could only watch four games, what would they be? Here are our suggestions:
- November 30th Australia vs Ireland at 17:00 (IST) PM
- December 2nd India vs Belgium at 19:00 (IST) PM
- December 5th Germany vs Netherlands at 17:00 (IST) PM
- December 7th England vs Ireland at 19:00 (IST) PM
Can I Catch it on TV?
For all of us fans who were unable to make it to India, the games will be live-streamed, so have no fear. You can still keep up on all the action. World Cup TV coverage of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 is reaching a record of 194 countries. This is thanks to the new all the media rights agreements between the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and over thirty broadcast partners worldwide. Find out where to tune into the game here.