Asia Cup Hockey 2017: India vs Pakistan, Head to head in Asia Cup
The Hero Asia Cup is almost upon us and the Indian Hockey team are the hot favourites. But they will have to contend with the likes of Japan, hosts Bangladesh and arch-rivals Pakistan. No matter what sport it is, India and Pakistan have always been rivals.
While their opening matches are against Japan and Bangladesh respectively on 11th October, the two will face-off on the 15th of October. Pakistan coach Farhat Khan said, "There is tough competition among the participating Asian teams with India being the strongest on paper with a world ranking of 6".
India vs Pakistan track record
The Indian team have won the Asia Cup 2 times already and are gunning for their 3rd one. Being the highest ranked Asian team, the Men in Blue are surely one of the favourites to win. India won back-to-back Asia Cups in 2003 and 2007. Pakistan, on the other hand, have won the Asia Cup 3 times, so they are also considered one of the favourites.
In terms of going head-to-head, Pakistan won the very first encounter in 1982 when they registered a thumping 4-0 win over India. In 1985, Pakistan and India clashed again in the final and once again it was Pakistan who came out on top with a 3-2 victory. In 1989, they met once again. This time also, Pakistan showed why they were a dominant force on the hockey field, with a 2-0 victory.
In 1994 and 1999, the two teams didn't meet at all as Pakistan lost to eventual winners South Korea in the semifinal. India would then go on to lose to the South Koreans in the final. In 1999, it was the other way round with India going down in the semifinals and Pakistan losing in the final.
In 2003, Pakistan and India were put in the same pool for the very first time and the Men in Green registered a 4-2 win. But they met again, this time in the final, and India got her revenge with a 4-2 win. The score was 4-1 in Pakistan's favour. In 2007, the 2 sides were once again placed in different pools, but this time, Pakistan failed to make it into the top four.
In 2009, the two sides met in the same pool and Pakistan triumphed in a fierce encounter with a 3-2 win. In the most recent edition, barring the upcoming tournament, India and Pakistan did not meet at all as India lost in the semifinal while Pakistan advanced to the final to face South Korea.
With Pakistan having a better track record and India being in the form of their lives, it will be difficult to predict whether Pakistan will grab a sixth win or whether India can pull one back. I guess we will have to wait until October 15th to find out.