Indian hockey team to to open Champions Trophy campaign against Pakistan on 23 June

Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will lock horns in a high-profile opening match of the men's Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Breda, Netherlands on 23 June.

As per the schedule announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Thursday, besides the India-Pakistan tie, there will be two more games on the first day of the event that concludes on 1 July.

File photo of India captain Manpreet Singh. Getty Images

File photo of India captain Manpreet Singh. Getty Images

The India-Pakistan match will be followed by a clash between hosts and European champions Netherlands and 2016 Olympic gold medallists Argentina, while reigning World Cup, World League and Champions Trophy title-holders Australia will face Rio Olympic silver medallists Belgium in the last game of the day.

In line with the event qualification criteria, Netherlands, Argentina and Australia qualified for this event automatically while the other three nations were invited by the FIH Executive Board.

The competition in Breda is notable for many reasons, not least for the fact that it will be the last ever men's edition of the event with an illustrious history. This heritage is reflected in the opening match, which features one of the biggest rivalries in the sport.

The India-Pakistan match is sure to draw thousands of spectators to the venue as well as millions of fans tuning in from across the world, eagerly anticipating the latest episode of this long-running battle between two of the sport's most successful nations.

After the Pakistan tie, India will play Argentina on 24 June followed by games against Australia on 27 June and Belgium on 28 June.

Over nine days of action, which includes a rest day on 25 June, all teams will be focused on reaching the final, which will be played on 1 July with the other classification matches being played earlier in the day.

This will be one of the last opportunities for these teams to play against each another competitively before the men's World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar from 28 November to 16 December.

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Updated Date: Mar 15, 2018 17:34:33 IST

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