Ireland have been drawn alongside defending champions Australia, England and China in the pool stages of the men's Hockey World Cup in India later this year. 

The Green Machine's first World Cup campaign since 1990 gets under way on November 30 against world number one side Australia.

The Kookaburras will be without talisman and four-time Olympian Mark Knowles, who has announced he will retire after the upcoming Commonwealth Games, but they remain a potent threat with the experienced Jake Wheton and the goal scoring prowess of Blake Govers who has 48 goals in his 57 caps.

The two sides don’t meet all too frequently but they will face off in the upcoming Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia on March 3. 

Ireland’s second match comes on December 4 against China, currently ranked 17th in the world, who beat higher ranked South Korea at World League in London to finish in 8th position. 

Ireland's final pool match is on December 7 against England, a side they will also meet at the Azlan Shah on March 6th.

The neighbours are familiar foes and most recently met at the European Championships in Amsterdam last August where England narrowly edged the encounter 2-1. Prior to that, Ireland put four past the English at Lee Valley to earn a historic European bronze medal in 2015. 

Head coach Craig Fulton said: "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.

"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".

Fulton expressed his dismay at the new World Cup structure: "I don’t agree with not playing any classification matches, which is a real shame in this World Cup.

"Worst-case scenario is you could potentially only play three pool games and then go home, when in the past you played seven games to a final position and that’s real value for money". 

Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018
Pool A: 
Argentina, New Zealand, Spain, France
Pool B: Australia, England, Ireland, China
Pool C: Belgium, India, Canada, South Africa
Pool D: Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan