Both teams have met six times previously in the competition.
India will kickstart their Hockey World Cup 2023 campaign in Group D against Spain. It’s been 47 years since that fabled day when India pipped arch-rivals Pakistan to a 2-1 victory to claim the World Championship back in 1975. Since then, India has not managed a single star on their emblem. However, with the FIH World Cup starting on January 13 at Birsa Munda International Stadium, the hosts would like to change their fortune.
Group D, comprising India, Spain, England and Wales is being dubbed the group of death. Wales is the only team which is ranked below the top 10. After facing off with Spain, India will play England and Wales.
Speaking to Sportstar, head coach Graham Reid said, “We have very high expectations from ourselves, from the way we play and our performances. I think that helps in coming to terms with the pressure that comes from the public. That pressure from the public is always there, but there’s not much you can do about that. That’s what we are really trying to do – focus on what we can do. You know the old adage in sports psychology – that you can control only the controllables. You focus on the next task, then the next. [This mindset is] very valid in a situation like this.”
Plenty of chances but no finished product
Currently ranked sixth in the world, the team has been in scintillating form in recent years since the appointment of Graham Reid as the head coach. Since his joining, the Australian has led the team to an Olympic bronze in the Tokyo winter Olympics, ending the team’s 41-year trophy drought. India also managed a silver in Birmingham after suffering a 7-0 humbling against Reid’s former side, Australia. In preparation for the tournament, India played a test series against Australia where, despite losing 4-1, the team has shown grit and character.
Despite reaching the finals twice, Spain has not been able to etch their name on the trophy yet. Since 2006, Spain has not even managed to make it to the top four of the tournament. Currently sitting at eight in the world rankings, Spain will be looking to up their dismal performance stat in the Olympics where they could manage only one win.
India vs Spain Team News
None of the teams has reported any injuries to their sides as of today. India and Spain, both teams will field their strongest possible outfit to hit the ground running in the tournament.
India vs Spain Head to Head
Spain and India have locked heads six times in the men’s World Cup, with the most recent being in the Hague in 2016 which ended in the only draw in the fixture. India has won twice while Spain has clinched the rest of the matches. Spain has also outscored India with 10 goals to nine in the WC.
Outside the World Cup, India has recently met Spain in the FIH Pro League twice, sharing the bragging rights with one win each. In the Tokyo Olympics, Spain suffered a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the Blue Tigers.
India vs Spain Squads
Krishan Bahadur Pathak
Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran
Harmanpreet Singh (Captain)
Amit Rohidas (Vice-captain)
Nilam Sanjeep Xess
Vivek Sagar Prasad
Lalit Kumar Upadhyay
Sub: Rajkumar Pal and Jugraj Singh.
Enrique Gonzalez Castejon
Sub: Pere Amat and Rafael Villalonga
Players to Watch:
The 27-year-old captain of India is the most important player in the team. While being defensively astute, Singh has made his name for his exceptional penalty corner prowess. Harmanpreet is one of the most notable names in the India’s squad and Spain would do well to keep him out of the game.
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Spain’s most crucial performer, Alvaro Iglesias is also one of the most experienced in the squad. He will use his creativity up top to keep the Indian defenders on their toes. The tussle between him and Harmanpreet will be one to keep an eye at.
Did You Know?
- Spain was the first nation to host the tournament back in 1971 where they finished second.
- Since their win in 1975, India has never managed to make it to the semifinals of the tournament.
Where to Watch
The match between India and Spain will be played at the Birsa Munda International Stadium in Rourkela on January 13. The match will be broadcast live from 7:00 PM IST on Star Sports 2, Star Sports First, and Star Sports Select 2 HD.
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