England vs India (Men’s Hockey CWG 2022): Preview and Prediction￼
The England vs India men’s hockey match at the Commonwealth Games 2022 will be played on Monday in Birmingham. The match will be played at the University of Birmingham ground.
The Indian men’s hockey team has been drawn alongside England, Canada, Ghana and Wales in Pool B. The Indian side began their campaign on July 31 against Ghana by registering an emphatic victory.
The England vs India match promises to be a humdinger as both teams play an entertaining style of hockey. The teams also met in the bronze medal play-off match in the 2018 edition of CWG where England pipped India 2-1. However, India has since then become one of the world’s top four sides and it will be difficult for the hosts to beat the Men in Blue despite playing on their home turf.
What have they done so far in the Games?
The most successful nation at the Olympic Games, India, has never come back home with gold from the Commonwealth Games men’s hockey competition. It reached the final twice — in 2010 and 2014 — but lost to Australia on both occasions.
As the clock ticks down for the start of the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on July 28, the India men’s hockey team embarks on another campaign with a lot to prove. The topmost on India’s agenda will be to win their maiden gold and prove that the team has the ability to emerge victorious in a tough field.
Though the Commonwealth Games started in 1930 as the British Empire Games at Hamilton in Canada, hockey is a recent entrant, having made its debut in 1998, in Kuala Lumpur. Australia has dominated and triumphed in all editions.
By winning gold in Birmingham, the Indian hockey team will also prove that its recent success is no flash in the pan. Coach Graham Reid’s India scripted history in Tokyo 2020 last year by winning bronze, its first medal at the Olympics in four decades and has recently finished third in the FIH Pro League. In recent times, the India men’s hockey team has also attained its best position in FIH World Rankings.
England, on the other hand, will be looking to improve from their bronze medal finish in the last games. Interestingly, the Lions have won bronze medals in each of the last two games. They had also won a bronze medal in the 1998 games but have yet to reach the final in the games. They are the sixth-best team when medal positions are considered but actually second when the number of medals is counted.
Seven members of the 2018 bronze medal-winning squad have retained their place in the England men’s team, including the last edition’s highest scorer Sam Ward.
Head to Head Record
India and England have faced each other four times in the Commonwealth games with both the teams winning one game outright while also winning one apiece via penalties. In their last encounter in the games, England defeated India 2-1 in the bronze medal match of the 2018 Gold Coast Games.
However, this year, India has won both of their games against England which were played as part of the FIH Pro League. India won the first game by virtue of a penalty and followed that up by winning the second one outright.
David Goodfield (England): English midfielder David Goodfield has been in good form in the tournament. Goodfield is quite able with the stick and has the ability to not only create chances but also score goals. The Shrewsbury lad scored goals in both matches against Spain to help his side register crucial wins. David Goodfield also has the experience of playing in mega tournaments for his side.
The 28-year-old is a former bronze medalist at the European Championship and Commonwealth Games. Goodfield serves as a crucial link in the English middle line. The Indians will have to sever this link or keep it in check if they want to avoid an upset.
Harmanpreet Singh (India): Harmanpreet Singh will definitely be India’s trump card against England. The defender and drag-flick specialist is the highest goalscorer in the 2021/22 FIH Pro League. He has scored 18 goals in that competition and will inevitably play a key factor in the upcoming games. Harmanpreet Singh has scored in literally every game for India in the FIH Pro League except against Argentina.
The English defence line will have to monitor him closely, especially during the penalty corners, if they hope to win the match. Harmanpreet will also play a crucial part in India’s defence, as he is now one of the senior members of the team.
England squad: James Albery, Liam Ansell, Nick Bandurak, Will Calnan, David Condon, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Chris Griffiths, James Mazarelo (GK), Nick Park, Ollie Payne, Phil Roper, Stuart Rushmere, Tom Sorsby, Zach Wallace, Jack Waller, Sam Ward
India squad: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (vice-captain), Amit Rohidas, Jugraj Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek
The Indians have proved they are capable of beating the best on their day, which was evident during their 2021/22 Hockey Pro League campaign.
While a match in Commonwealth Games is a different ball game altogether, Graham Reid’s team will back themselves against England, although the contest could be too close to call. Penalty corners will be vital for both sides and Harmanpreet Singh, who was the best player in the recently concluded FIH Pro League, will need to be at his best but given the form of Team India recently, India is definitely the favorite to win this game.