India end Hockey World Cup campaign with consolation win: Details
Team India's campaign in the ongoing Hockey World Cup ended with a 5-2 win over South Africa on Saturday (January 28). Though the Indian team won their last two games in the competition, they finished in the joint-ninth position. Meanwhile, the hosts dominated the African side at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela and recorded a thumping win. Here are further details.
How did the match pan out?
Abhishek opened his side's account versus SA with a goal in the 5th minute. Skipper Harmanpreet Singh (11'), Shamsher Singh (44'), and Akashdeep Singh (48') also found the nets, extending India's lead to 4-0. Mvimbi Samkelo opened SA's account in the 49th minute. Cassiem Mustaphaa (59') also found the nets. Sukhjeet Singh (58') struck India's final goal as the hosts recorded a dominating win.
India's campaign in the Hockey World Cup 2023
India were clubbed in Pool D alongside England, Wales, and Spain. India trounced Spain 2-0 in their opening game, followed by a goalless draw against England. The hosts overpowered Wales 4-2, concluding second in Pool D. India met NZ in the crossover match, only to lose in the shootout. They ended their campaign with wins over Japan (8-0) and SA (5-2) in placement playoffs.
Joint-lowest finish for a host nation
As mentioned, India finished the joint-ninth place in the team standings alongside Argentina. This is the worst-ever finish by a host nation in a men's Hockey World Cup. India broke their record, having finished eighth in the 2010 event in Delhi. Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur 2002) and Argentina (Buenos Aires 1978) also finished in eighth place while hosting the competition.
India's performance at the Hockey World Cup
India last won the tournament in 1975, finishing second and third in 1973 and 1971, respectively. Team India exited in the quarter-finals of the 2018 edition. As per TOI, this was the first instance since 1982 of India playing at a Hockey World Cup as a medalist from the last Olympics. India ended a 41-year-long wait by winning bronze in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
India are hosting Hockey WC for the fourth time
India are hosting the Hockey World Cup for the fourth time after 1982 (Mumbai), 2010 (Delhi), and 2018 (Odisha). It is the most time a nation has hosted the tournament. Notably, India became the first nation to be hosting the tournament twice in a row.