Hockey World Cup highlights: India beat Spain 2-0 in opener

Amit Rohidas celebrates scoring the first goal for India against Spain in the 2023 Hockey World Cup. World Sport Pics

India's World Cup 2023 campaign has gotten off to a winning start as they beat Spain 2-0 at the newly built Birsa Munda stadium in Rourkela on Friday.

This is the second consecutive time India, indeed Odisha, are hosting the Hockey World Cup. India are placed in Pool D with Spain, England and Wales and the format is such that the first placed team goes straight to the quarterfinals while the second and third placed teams compete a crossover round against the third and second placed teams from Pool C.

The live blog for the opening day's play below recaps the highlights of the match:

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India started with verve and energy and a first quarter goal from Amit Rohidas looked to be just rewards for their endeavour. They then oscillated between counter-pressing high and sitting back and countering... the second goal coming from Hardik Singh who's hard running was simply too much for Spain.

An unfortunate (because it looked a clean challenge) yellow for Abhishek meant 10-man India had to do some backs-to-the-wall defending for 10 minutes in the fag end of the final quarter; but they did it rather well. Spain need to up their game if they want to go deeper into the tournament, but so in some ways should India.

India had 5 shots to Spain's 5, 27 circle penetrations to 25 (most of Spain's coming in that final quarter) and 6 PCs to 3 for Spain. Harmanpreet Singh's conversion rate, though, will be a concern: especially with that penalty stroke miss.