FIH Hockey WC: Mouthwatering semi affairs on cards

Bhubaneswar, 27/1: After two weeks of intense competition, the cream has risen to the top. Australia, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany — the top four ranked teams of the world — will lock horns in two mouth-watering FIH Hockey World Cup semifinals here on Friday that should whet the appetite of not just the purists but even casual followers of the sport.



Three-time winners Australia, for whom India has always been a happy hunting ground having triumphed in the 2010 World Cup and Commonwealth Games, kick off the semifinal proceedings against a peaking Germany while free-scoring Netherlands will be looking to exact revenge against defending champions Belgium in the night clash at the Kalinga Stadium.


There’s very little to separate Australia and Germany, two of the sport’s heavyweights who have been battling for the top honours consistently over the last four decades. In the 45 times the two have have clashed against each other, Australia have won 20 with Germany edging just ahead by one win. Australia though have beaten the Die Honamas the last three times, including the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.


Australia have been in smashing form this World Cup too, playing their usual blistering hockey and pumping in goals left, right and centre. They’ve amassed 24 goals but unlike the Kookaburras of the past, they’ve looked porous on the defensive front, conceding as many as eight goals. Argentina held them 3-3 while Spain almost threatened a shocker after leading 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

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