The 16th edition of the FIH Hockey World Cup is on, and 16 teams from across the 6 continents are vying for the highest honour in the field of the sport. As we all continue to enjoy the World Confluence at Bhubaneshwar, India, here are 6 players, to watch out for:
6) Blake Govers (Australia):
The man from New South Wales made his debut for the Australian National Team in 2015. Since then the 22-year old has made 71 appearances for the Aussies. Govers has been a very consistent performer for Australia for the past couple of years. With 5 goals, he was the joint second highest scorer in the FIH Hockey World League Finals last year. He even scored the all important winning goal in the final against Argentina. Govers had also scored 4 goals, during the Kookaburras’ triumph in the 2018 Champions Trophy, where he again scored in the final against India. In order for the Defending World Champions, to successfully defend their Hockey World Cup crown, Australia’s number 13 must fire all cylinders in Odisha.
5) Tobias Hauke (Germany):
Tobias Hauke has been with the German national team for over a decade now. The 31-year old is the only player in the squad, who owns the feat of owning 2 Olympic Gold Medals – 2008 and 2012. The German bomber has made close to 300 appearances, and is Germany’s most experienced player by a long margin. This might very well be the final time the 2016 Champion’s Trophy Player of the Tournament will be in action in the Hockey World Cup. Germany will definitely look up to their star man, in an attempt to win back the coveted trophy they had won back to back at the start of the millennium.
4) Akashdeep Singh (India):
The Indian youngster has been arguably one of the best players for the Tri-coloured nation in the recent past. India has reached the last 4 consistently in the last few tournaments and this man has to be credited for much of that. The 23-year old forward is the team’s 5th highest capped player currently, a statistic flattering for a man of his age. In his 170 plus appearances for the Men in Blue, Akashdeep has scored 50 odd goals. In order for the hosts to lift their second Hockey World Cup title in 33 years, the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy Player of the Tournament has to replicate his recent form. The home fans in Odisha will be hoping for nothing less from the man from Punjab.
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3) Tom Boon (Belgium):
Tom Boon is considered to be one of the best drag flickers in the world. The 28-year old forward was instrumental in Belgium’s rapid rise in the world of Hockey in the past decade. Unfortunately though for the Red Lions, they have never been able to win silverware at any major championships, despite brilliant performances. Boon has been arguably Belgium’s best player in recent times. In order for the 2016 Olympic Silver medalists to go one better in the Hockey World Cup, they will be needing the costliest player of 2015 Hockey India League, back in full flow.
2) Jeroen Hertzberger (Holland):
Jeroen Hertzberger is a veteran of 2 previous Olympic Games as well as Hockey World Cup. The 32-year old has made over 300 appearances for the Oranje and is also their most experienced man. The Dutch forward has scored over 100 goals in national colours. He is the all time leading goal scorer in the Euro Hockey League with 26 goals. The leader of the Dutch forward line, has already started with a bang at Odisha. He scored the tournament’s first hat-trick against Malaysia, in their 7-0 drubbing. The Dutch will be counting on the experienced Hertzberger to shred off the disappointment of the 2014 final loss against Australia at home, and bring home their 4th Hockey World Cup.
1) Gonzalo Peillat (Argentina):
Argentina’s meteoric rise in the Hockey World was first witnessed when they shocked everyone to take 3rd position in the 2014 World Cup. Los Leones have since then only got better, and Gold Medal at 2016 Olympics cemented the claim. The one man who, like his countryman Lionel Messi, has made it happen for Argentine Hockey – is Gonzalo Peillat. The 26-year old has been the top scorer in the following tournaments: 2014 Hockey World Cup, 2016 Olympic Games and 2018 Champions Trophy. Argentina have finished 3rd, 1st and 2nd in those 3 tournaments respectively. The defender is now considered by many to be the best drag flicker in the world. It is evident without saying, that he will once again look to reclaim his Golden Stick, in addition to adding the Hockey World Cup medal to his already glittering collection for Argentina.
Do you agree with our list? Who else do you think should have been on the list? Let us know in the comments below.