India grouped with Belgium in hockey WC

ANI | Updated: Feb 28, 2018 16:39 IST

Bhubaneswar [India], Feb 28 (ANI): The Indian men's hockey team is grouped along with 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist Belgium for the 2018 World Cup scheduled to be played at home from November 28.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced the pools and match schedule for the event on Wednesday.

Over the course of the nineteen-day competition, sixteen teams will take the field at Odisha's Kalinga Stadium.

The World Cup sees 15 qualifying nations to join hosts India in the race for the title. The host nation were joined by teams who qualified on the basis of their performances either at the last year's Hockey World League Semi-Finals competitions in London and Johannesburg or by being crowned as continental champions.

The 16 teams have been split into four pools of four, with Rio 2016 Olympic champions Argentina competing in Pool A alongside New Zealand, Spain and France while reigning world champions Australia take on England, Ireland and China in Pool B.

Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Belgium will compete in Pool C alongside home favourites and 1975 world champions India, Canada and African continental champions South Africa.

European title holders and three time world champions the Netherlands will take on two-time champions Germany, Malaysia and Pakistan in Pool D.

Two former world champions Germany and Pakistan will take on each other on December 1, Asia champions India will face European giants Belgium on December 2 and England aiming to upset the odds against the mighty Kookaburras of Australia on December 4.

A first place finish in each pool will guarantee a berth in the Quarter-Finals, with the second and third place finishers in each pool needing to win a cross-over match, which will be played on December 10 and December 11 in order to reach the last eight.

The Quarter-Finals will take place on December 12 and 13.

The event semi-finals will be played on December 15, with the bronze medal and the showpiece final scheduled for December 16.

Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 - Pools

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. (ANI)