Kookaburras start WC with France thrashing

Australia's men's hockey team have kicked off their World Cup campaign in India with an 8-0 demolition of France.

The Kookaburras won 3-0 at the same venue in Bhubaneswar at the 2018 World Cup for a sixth-straight win over their European opposition, and opened the scoring just eight minutes in through Tom Craig on Friday night.

World No.12 France, competing at their first men's World Cup for 28 years, were four down by halftime after two more experienced Australians in Flynn Ogilvie and Jeremy Hayward, twice from penalty corners, netted.

Colin Batch's side increased their lead within 90 seconds of the restart through Craig, and Hayward completed his hat-trick with a cracking penalty corner conversion in the 38th minute for his 94th goal in green and gold.

Craig bagged his treble late in the third quarter before Tom Wickham wrapped up the scoring with seven to go.

It was Australia's biggest win over France in seven-and-a-half years and their third-biggest ever.

The Kookaburras, ranked No.1 in the world and winners of two of the last three finals, have only twice missed the medals in 12 Cup instalments since 1975.

Australia stormed to a seventh-straight Commonwealth Games title last year and have won 10 World Cup medals in total, hoping to add a fourth gold with victory at the 15th edition.

They will next face Argentina in Pool A action on Wednesday morning (12.30am AEDT).

The seventh-ranked South Americans began their tournament with a 1-0 win over world No.14 South Africa earlier in the day.

Casella Maico's 42nd-minute goal enough for the 2016 Olympic champions.