These players are decent threats from the penalty corners.

Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in the state of Odisha will host the 15th FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup from January 13 to January 29. It will take place at the 20,000-seat Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela and the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The 16 best men’s teams in the world are already assembling in Odisha as the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 draws near. Even though every team enters the tournament hoping to win the title of world champion, there will only be one winner. Before the tournament commences, let us take a look at the top five drag-flickers in the tournament.

5. Gonzalo Peillat (Germany)

He is the only player on the list who has represented two countries in international hockey; Germany and Argentina. This is due to a squabble with Argentina’s head coach, German Orozco, in 2019. He was very involved in club competitions when he was not playing for Argentina. He is a major player for Mannheimer HC, one of the best clubs in Germany’s top-flight hockey league, the Men’s Field hockey Bundesliga. Peillat has 176 goals for Argentina in only 153 matches. Almost all of his goals have come via drag flicks from the penalty spot. The drag-flicker scored the decisive goals that earned them bronze at the 2014 World Cup. In reality, his most significant goal came in the 2016 Rio Olympics final, when his strike earned his country gold. Peillat scored 11 goals in the 2016 Olympics, all of which came via his famous drag flicks.

4. Harmanpreet Singh (India)

He scored one of the tournament’s most important goals on a drag flick in India’s loss to Belgium in the Tokyo Olympics semi-final. He stepped up to take the penalty corner with the side behind 1-0. Even though India lost the match, Harmanpreet’s ability as a drag flicker was clearly demonstrated. Harmanpreet achieved it again in December, this time at the Asian Champions Trophy. With seven goals, he was India’s leading scorer at the tournament. In fact, his characteristic drag flick was responsible for all of his goals. As a result, it comes as no surprise that he was selected FIH Player of the Year for the 2020-2021 season. He is now the highest scorer in the FIH Pro League.

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3. Alexander Hendrickx (Belgium)

He was one of the most important figures in Belgium’s Olympic achievement in Tokyo. He tallied 14 goals, all of which came from penalty-corner drag flicks, in addition to giving solidity to the backline. Hendrickx easily beat the opposing goalkeepers and looked threatening every time he stepped up to attempt penalty corners. One of the best examples was a shot he took against Germany. As he took the drag flick, he smashed the ball into the right corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance. Furthermore, he can mix power and precision, making it even more difficult for the opposing defence to read his shots. Belgium will be fully dependent on him to give them the lead-through set pieces. 

2. Blake Govers (Australia)

Australian Blake Govers was the second joint scorer in the Tokyo Olympics, tied with Lukas Windfeder. The New South Wales native scored goals through his impressive drag flicks against Japan, India, Argentina, New Zealand, and Germany. His goal in the 27th minute against Germany was significant in helping them take a 2-1 lead. Govers, a two-time Champions Trophy gold medalist and a silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, is one of the world’s most efficient drag-flickers. Blake has come a long way since being nominated for the “Rising Star of the Year” award in 2019, proving himself to be a vital addition to the Australian national hockey team.

1. Lukas Windfeder (Germany)

He is the 2nd most dreaded German drag-flicker after the addition of Peillat in the German squad. The 26-year-old has already made more than 125 appearances for his national team, scoring over 40 goals. The 2013 Junior World Cup winner has been wowing audiences with his abilities for quite some time. His recent performances at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo were particularly noteworthy. He tied for second place as the tournament’s highest scorer with seven goals, all of which came from drag flicks. His performances at the EuroHockey Championship in 2021 were particularly noteworthy. He scored two goals in the competition, assisting his team to a silver medal.

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