The 16th edition of the tournament will be hosted in Bhubaneshwar and Rourkela.

The clock is ticking and with each passing second, the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 is closer than ever. India will be hoping to replicate their Tokyo run and secure a podium finish after a gap of a few decades. Harmanpreet Singh and co. have been through special training camps organised by Hockey India to ensure no stones are left unturned to bring back the glory of the past.

As the teams and the fans wait for the extravaganza to begin, we decided to bring you the list of the 10 most interesting statistics we could find from the upcoming World Cup:

605 games

Over the 14 previous editions, a total of 605 World Cup games have been played. In those games, the teams scored 2433 goals, with a rounded average of four goals per game.

6 nations

A total of 26 teams have ever participated in Men’s World Cup history. Of them, only six managed to get their hands on the trophy. Apart from Australia, all the previous winners are either from Asia or Europe. 11 of the previous 14 editions have been won by either Asians or Europeans – five by Asians (Pakistan and India) and six by Europeans (Germany, Netherlands and Belgium). Australia have won three times, two of which came in the previous decade.

4 titles

Though they may not be a dominant force in the sport anymore, Pakistan were the first galacticos of the World Cup era – winning three of the first five editions. They won the inaugural edition in 1971 by defeating hosts Spain 1-0. Pakistan was defeated on their way to the final and later won the Bronze Medal match 2-1 AET against Kenya. They then won two back-to-back titles in 1978 and 1981. Their most recent victory was in 1994.

The courtesy of the first-ever Hockey World Cup hat-trick also goes to Pakistan’s fullback Tanbir Dar. He netted three times in his nation’s first-ever WC game against Australia in 1971. All his goals came from penalty corners. Dar ended that tournament as the highest goal-scorer with eight goals.

The Green Machine aren’t in this edition of the World Cup. And it’s fair to say that they are a long way down from the position where they can fight for their fifth.

100 appearances

Netherlands have played in every edition of the Men’s World Cup since its inception. They are the only side to play a century of matches in this tournament. Their goal tally of 267 and a win percentage of 61 have been bettered by Australia. But they still are a powerhouse in the sport.

The Dutchmen won their first of three titles in 1973 after defeating India 4-2 on the penalty strokes. They followed the course in 1990 and 1998.

75% winning rate

Although they don’t have the most number of World Cups, Australia are the most dominant nation in its history. In 92 games they have played, they won 69 with a win percentage of 75 – the most by any nation in the Men’s World Cup. The Kookaburras are also the only team to score more than 300 goals in the World Cup. And they are a long way clear in this regard.

4126 international caps

With a combined number of 4126 international caps, Belgium are entering the World Cup with the highest amount of experience. Teams that follow are Australia (2632), India (2289), Malaysia (2105) and England (1871).

Five of the six most-capped players entering the tournament are Belgian. John-John Dohmen leads the chart with 436 matches. Manpreet Singh with 314 caps is the most experienced Indian on the list.

15 goals in a game

Pakistan 12-3 New Zealand (1982, Bombay). It was a Pool A game held on January 2. Pakistan went on to win the World Cup on Indian soil – their third in total.

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199 goals

Only three nations ever have crossed the 200-goal tally in Men’s Hockey World Cup. India’s opening goal this tournament will make them the fourth team to reach 200 goals. The hosts will follow Pakistan, Australia and Netherlands to this feat. In the 95 games they have played, they won 40, lost 41 and drawn 14. Their win percentage of 42.11% is only the seventh best amongst teams with 50 or more World Cup matches.

Rajinder Singh Sr. is India’s top scorer with 12 goals. Followed by SS Sodhi with 10. The trio of Shivender Singh, Mukesh Kumar and Akashdeep Singh have seven goals each.

1 host winner

In all of the 14 times, only two times did it happen that the hosts got to celebrate in front of their home fans. Both times, Netherlands lifted the tirophye. First in 1973 when they won the penalty shootout against India in the final. They again got to celebrate when Teun De Nooijer’s extra-time goal edged Spain in Utrecht in 1998. They again hosted in 2014 but they got battered by the Aussies 6-1 in the final.

4-time hosts

By being hosts in 2023, India have now hosted for the record fourth time in history. This will be their third appearance as hosts since 2010. Blue Tigers’ best performance while hosting came in 1981-82. Narrow losses against Australia and Netherlands didn’t help them in reaching semis for first time in seven years.

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