Hockey World Cup: Ireland handed a 'competitive' pool draw

England edged a 2-1 win against Ireland to seal a semi-final spot at the 2017 EuroHockey Championships
England edged a 2-1 win against Ireland to seal a semi-final spot at the 2017 EuroHockey Championships

Ireland's men have been drawn against Australia, England and China in Pool B of the World Cup in India.

Craig Fulton's team will face Australia, the world's top-ranked side, in their opening match on 30 November.

The Kookaburras will be without Mark Knowles for their title defence - the four-time Olympian will retire after the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The match against China takes place on 4 December before a potential must-win tie against England on 7 December.

Ireland, currently ranked 10th in the world, will get a chance to test themselves against Australia and England when they compete in the upcoming Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia.

The final pool match against England will be a meeting of familiar foes - the two sides most recently met at the 2017 European Championships in Amsterdam, when England earned a narrow victory.

"We are happy with our World Cup draw, it's a competitive pool and we have played all the teams recently which is a positive," said Fulton.

"There are three-day breaks between our pool matches, which will take some getting used to with lots of down time as there are only two games a day on the schedule."

Ireland's Odisha World Cup Pool Fixtures (local times)
IrelandvAustraliaFriday, 30 November, 17:00
IrelandvChinaTuesday, 4 December, 19:00
IrelandvEnglandFriday, 7 December, 19:00

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