FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023: Malaysia, Argentina and France win consolation games
They all had descended on Odisha with fond hopes of improving their standings in the World Cup. Going by the standard of competition, they failed to match their more fancied opponents and had to content with positions in the bottom half of total 16 participants.
The hosts India, 2016 Olympic Games champion Argentina, and defending Asian Games champions Japan had to play in the classification games to decide ninth to 16th position.Intriguingly, the losing quarter finalists – England, Spain, New Zealand and Korea – were spared of any classification games. Based on their FIH rankings, their standings were decided. England took the fifth spot, Spain sixth, New Zealand seventh and Korea eighth.
In the last round of the classification games, continental rivalries were on view. Malaysia surprised Asian Games champions Japan 3-2 in a close game to take joint 13th position. Another team to finish 13th was France that defeated debutants Chile 4-2.
Argentina mauled Wales 6-0 to take joint ninth position. Wales finished joint 11th.
The 17-day 44-match hockey extravaganza would come to an end on Sunday with Belgium taking on Germany in the gold medal match and the Netherlands playing Australia for the bronze medal. It is for the first time that the World Cup for men has been played at two venues – Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.It has been for the fourth time that India played host to the World Cup. Starting in 1981-82, when it organised the fifth World Cup in Bombay, India again played host to the World in 2010, the year of Commonwealth Games.In 2018, Bhubaneswar was the venue when India held the World Cup for men for the third time. Intriguingly, India, as hosts, never ever qualified for semi-finals of the mega event.And this time, the host nation was pushed to its lowest ever home finish though it saw goalkeeper PR Sreejesh becoming the only player to participate in three World Cups on the home soil.
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