Lausanne [Switzerland], September 27 (ANI): The Indian hockey team will start its 2023 Hockey World Cup Campaign against Spain at the newly-built Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela on January 13 according to the schedule released by the International Federation of Hockey (FIH) on Tuesday.
India, who won the bronze medal at Tokyo 2020, will face England, ranked No. 6 in the world, on January 15 at the same location.
On January 19, the Indian men's hockey team will play its final Pool D game at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, the second location for the 2023 men's Hockey World Cup, versus Wales, ranked 16th in the world.
The Hockey World Cup 2023 will begin on January 13 and continue until January 29, with four pools of four teams battling it out for the Championship trophy. India is placed in pool D along with Spain, England and Wales.
Currently fifth in the hockey rankings, Graham Reid-coached India are the top-ranked side among the four teams in Pool D. Spain are ranked eighth in the world and have impressed of late under former Netherlands coach Max Caldas.
2016 Olympic Gold medallists Argentina and Africa's highest-ranked nation South Africa will open the 2023 FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup. The encounter between these two powerhouses of international hockey will take place on January 13 at Kalinga Stadium, which hosted the last Men's World Cup final in 2018.
The second match of the day in Bhubaneswar will see the world's number one Australia taking on France, in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup quarter-final.
Later on the same day, the brand-new Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela will host its first-ever FIH World Cup matches, starting with a "derby" between England and Wales
In total, 44 matches will be played, with the Final scheduled on January 29 (7 pm local time) in Bhubaneswar.
The draw held on September 8 in Bhubaneswar determined the four Pools as follows:
Pool A: Australia, Argentina, France, South Africa
Pool B: Belgium, Germany, Korea, Japan
Pool C: Netherlands, New Zealand, Malaysia, Chile
Pool D: India, England, Spain, Wales
Chile and Wales have qualified for the Men's World Cup for the very first time.
Belgium are the current World Champions, having defeated the Netherlands in the final of the 2018 edition.
India's best World Cup performance came in 1975 when they won their lone title by defeating Pakistan 2-1 in the championship game in Kuala Lumpur.
India will serve as the host nation for the FIH Hockey Men's World Cup for the fourth time in 2023. (ANI)