India to endure Spanish challenge in Hockey World Cup opener | Hockey News

India is ready to open its hockey world cup campaign against Spain at the newly built Birsa Munda Hockey Rourkela Stadium on January 13 next year.
The hosts will play their final two group matches against England at the same venue two days later on January 15 and then travel to Bhubaneswar where they will play their third group match against Wales at Kalinga Stadium January 19.
This is the second consecutive time that Odisha has hosted the quadrennial event and much is expected after the great success of the 2018 edition won by Belgium. But with the event split across two cities, it will be quite a challenge for the organizers as well as the competing teams.
A total of 44 matches will be played and the matches have been scheduled so that all 16 teams play matches at both venues. Regarding the number of matches, Roukela will host 20 matches while the remaining 24 matches will be held in Bhubaneswar.
Although India will play their opener in Rourkela on the evening of January 13, the tournament will kick off with Argentina taking on South Africa in the opener in Bhubaneswar earlier in the day. The opening day will also see England take on Wales in a ‘derby’ in Rourkela and Australia take on France in Bhubaneswar.
As for the knockout matches, except for the four crossovers, they will all be held in Bhubaneswar with the final set to be held in Bhubaneswar on January 29.
Reigning champions Belgium, who are sure to enjoy the support of home fans, will start their campaign against Korea in Bhubaneswar on the second day of the match. Ranked No. 2 in the world and also current Olympic champions, the Red Lions take on Germany in a tantalizing match at the same venue on January 17, then travel to Rourkela for their third game against Japan on January 20.
Like the Belgium-Germany clash, another pool game that will be tough is the one between Australia and Argentina and it will also take place at Kalinga Stadium on January 16.
Meanwhile, 2018 runners-up Netherlands, like India, will begin their journey through the group stages in Rourkela and then travel to Bhubaneswar for their final draw. First they face Malaysia, followed by matches against New Zealand and Chile, who will make their debuts in the event along with Wales.
India schedule (all matches at 7 p.m.): vs Spain, January 13 – Rourkela; vs England, January 15 – Rourkela; vs Wales, January 19 – Bhubaneswar
Pool A: Australia, Argentina, France, South Africa
Pool B: Belgium, Germany, Korea, Japan
Pool C: Netherlands, New Zealand, Malaysia, Chile
Pool D: India, England, Spain, Wales

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