Hockey World League final — How the teams stack up

The top eight teams in the world line-up for the finale of the tournament, starting on December 1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar undergoing final touches ahead of the Hockey World League final matches. Photo: Biswaranjan Rout
The surprise Olympic champion has made sure it wasn't a fluke. Winning the Pan-American title was easy but a humiliating 1-6 loss to Netherlands in the final of the HWL Semifinals in London would rankle. The immediate target is to end the year as the World No. 1 and the team's hoping Gonzalo Peillat would regain his fiery form soon. Talented Lucas Vila and Matias Paraedes along with the versatile Agustin Mazzilli would be the key. Photo: Getty Images
A sixth-place finish at Rio resulted in big names bowing out and a change at the helm. The world champion is still searching for the perfect combination since then. Coach Colin Batch has accepted there are no favourites any more but the expected triumph in the Oceania Cup has pushed the team closer to Argentina and the top spot. Mark Knowles at 33 remains the lynchpin but the coach would be hoping the likes of Lachlan Sharp step up to be counted. Photo: Biswaranjan Rout
A silver at the Rio Olympics in its first-ever final of the tournament, top spot at the HWL Semifinals in Johannesburg ahead of the likes of Germany and Australia and silver again at the European Champions this year after defeating eventual winner Netherlands 5-0 in the league stage — the Belgians have been consistently climbing up the ladder. Its last outing here, however, was forgettable — Belgium won a single game to finish last in the 2014 Champions Trophy. Runner up in 2015, Shane McLeod's men are looking to go one better this time around. Photo: PTI
There isn’t any major hockey title that the Dutch haven’t won, including the HWL. The team’s recent results reaffirm its hunger to continue winning and Max Caldas’ side is one of the few to arrive with a heavy arsenal. Robbert Kempermann and Billy Bakker lead the attack with Mirco Pruijser and Mink van der Weerden, making himself known to Indian public through the last edition of HIL, will take charge of the penalty corners. Among the favourites for the title. Photo: Getty Images
A bronze at Rio was welcome but 4th place at the Euro Championship would be rankling the side. New coach Stefan Kermas has named an experience-heavy side for the tournament that will also give him a chance to recce before the World Cup next year. Tobias Hauke, Florian Fuchs, Mats Grambusch and Christopher Ruhr all will be in action as Germany looks to crawl back to the top. It won’t be easy, though. Photo: Getty Images
The year was messy and results disappointing but the Asia Cup, coming just before this tournament, has propelled Manpreet Singh-led side back into public consciousness and in the favourites’ list. Gold would be too far-fetched to dream but the team has the potential to cause a few upsets on its day. Coach Sjoerd Marijne would be more than keen to test the results of his player-first strategy and he has the experience of Manpreet, SV Sunil, Birendra Lakra and Rupinderpal Singh for that. He will miss Sardar Singh and P. Sreejesh though. Photo: Biswaranjan Rout
The English have always been among the top sides but never been at the top, they have always had strong teams and some big names but somehow never managed to win the big ones. They start with a bang and then fizzle out, like it happened in the previous edition. One of the few teams to have a long-serving coach — Bobby Crutchley’s been in charge since 2013 — the team led by Barry Middleton, on the cusp of his 400th cap, does have the potential to surprise everyone. But it would need to pace itself well to do that. Photo: Getty Images
Spain is a far way from its glory days in the late 90s and early 2000s. That it has managed to hang in the top-10 is, frankly, a surprise but it is also proof that the team has the experience and the fight to trouble the big guns. Seniors Pau Quemada, Sergi Enrique and Quico Cortes will have the exciting talent of Enrico Gonzalez — Player of the Tournament at the Junior World Cup and one of the most skilful upcoming players in the world — for company as the Spanish look to reclaim their days of dominance. Photo: Getty Images