Hockey World League: India placed in tough pool alongside Australia and Germany
India will open their campaign against the mighty Kookaburras on 1 December before taking on England and Germany.
New Delhi: Hosts India are placed in a tough Pool B along side current world champions Australia and reigning Olympic bronze medallist Germany in the men's Hockey World League (HWL) Final to be held in Bhubaneswar from 1 to 10 December.
Besides India, World League champions Australia and Germany, Pool B also features seventh placed England, who are the reigning bronze medallist in the Euro Hockey Nations Championship.
According to the schedule announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Thursday, India will open their campaign against the mighty Kookaburras on 1 December before taking on England (2 December) and Germany (4 December).
Pool A, meanwhile, consists of Olympic champions Argentina, European champions Netherlands, Olympic silver medallists Belgium and Spain.
European rivals Germany and England will get the event off to a flier at the Kalinga Stadium before the India-Australia duel.
In what is being billed as 'Super Saturday', 2 December is set to be a thriller with some eagerly anticipated matches scheduled.
A rerun of the 2016 Olympic gold medal match between Argentina and Belgium gets the day underway in a match that is bound to rekindle some fond memories from that special night in Rio just over a year ago.
The Pool stages will run from 1-5 December and will be followed by the quarter-finals on 6-7 December.
Following that classification matches, semi-finals will take place over the next two days before the bronze medal match and Final on 10 December.
Pool A: Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain
Pool B: Australia, India, Germany, England
1 December: Pool B 16:45 GER - ENG
Pool B 19:30 AUS - IND
2 December: Pool A 12:00 ARG - BEL
Pool A 14:00 NED - ESP
Pool B 17:30 GER - AUS
Pool B 19:30 IND - ENG
3 December: Pool A 17:30 BEL - ESP
Pool A 19:30 NED - ARG
4 December: Pool B 17:30 AUS - ENG
Pool B 19:30 IND - GER
5 December: Pool A 17:30 ARG - ESP
Pool A 19:30 BEL - NED
6 December: QF 17:15
7 December: QF 17:15
8 December: Losing Q/Finalists Match 17:15
Semi Final 19:30
9 December :Losing Q/Finalists Match 17:15
Semi Final 19:30
10 December: Bronze Medal Match 17:15
All timings are according to Indian Standard Time (IST).
Fitness and keeping things simple were crucial to India's performance during recent tours, says defender Surender Kumar
The 27-year-old, who has played 135 matches for the national team, was part of the team which won both its matches against Argentina in the FIH Hockey Pro League and two out of the four practice games on the tour last month.
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In the recent Argentina tour, the Indian team scored 12 goals in four practice matches and five goals in two FIH Pro League games against the Olympic champions, but Lalit said there is still room for improvement as nine goals came via penalty corners.
"To be among the best, we have to constantly test ourselves against the best and I was very happy with the way I performed in the FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Argentina," Singh said.