Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Statistics tells no walkover for India. When Wales has improved on its performance, England’s last encounter hints at the ‘Red’

The draw is out. The die is cast for a thrilling rivalry between ‘sticks and biscuit’ at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and newly built Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium at Rourkela.

The draw ceremony held at Lok Seva Bhawan here on Thursday announced the four Pools for the upcoming FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023.  The pooling promises for an action packed ‘barnburners’ from Jan 13-29.

Host India is in Pool D alongside England, Spain and Wales. The Indian men are highest ranked side in their group. While in the FIH World Rankings, India is at number 5 and England at number 6, Spain is ranked at 8th and Wales at 16th.

Easy Or Tricky For India?

At the first instance, the Pool D placements put host India as the favourite. But there is more to this than meets to the eye. The draw for the hosts looks quite tricky reveals a little dig of the head-ons between the teams drops the clues.

India Vs England

India First Played England At Christchurch in 1926 India Won 5-2
Total Matches played so far                       132
Matches Won by India                        25
Matches Went In England’s Favour                         86
Matches Drawn                         21
Encounter At Tokyo Olympics              India Won 3-1 in QF
Last  Encounter In 2022 Commonwealth Games Birmingham         India-England Drawn 4-4

The above match(matics) shows despite currently being behind India in the FIH rankings, England is not a side to be brushed aside. England could be a ‘Red’ for the men in ‘Blue’.

India Vs Spain  

India Spain First Encounter In 1948 London Olympics   India Won 2- 0.
Total Matches Played so far                         66
Results In Indian Favour                         29
Results in Spain’s Favour                         24
Total Matches Drawn                         13
Biggest Spain Shocker To India       Drubbed India 8-2 in Aug 2009
Indian Shocker to Spaniards Trounced The Red Sticks 6-1 in a 2019 Test Match
Goals scored by India                          133
Goals scored by Spain                          124
Last Encounter In 2021 Tokyo Olympics     India Whitewashed 3- 0

 The comparison shows the ‘redsticks’ (Spaniards) a no pushover. But the arithmetic is on the sides of Men in Blue.

India Vs Wales

Wales men’s hockey team made their maiden debut in the Summer Olympics in 1908, where they took the bronze. But the team since then had participated in the Olympics as a part of the Great Britain.

However, the team played separately in Euro-Hockey championships since 1970, and they finished in positions ping-ponging between 6th -12th.

The team made their debut in commonwealth games in year 1998, and finished at 7th to 9th in the years 1998 to 2018.

Indian men first played Wales at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur  Won the game 6-3


Total Matches Played                         4
Won By India                         4
Won by Wales                         0
Matches Drawn                         0
Biggest India Win  6-3 In Kuala Lumpur C’Wealth Games
Last Encounter In 2018 Gold Coast C’Wealth Games         India won 4-3

Though the Men in Blue have dominated the game with Wales, the closing-in by Wales in 2018 Commonwealth Games holds a red herring for the Indian hockey team.

Tags: #Indianhockeyteam #commonwealthgames #SummerOlympics #InternationalHockeyStadium #HWC2023 #HockeyInvites #HockeyEquals #HockeyMensWorldCup #BirsaMundaStadium #RourkelaStadium