FIH Champions Trophy 2018: India vs Pakistan Hockey - Telecast, date, start time and where to watch online
The thirty-seventh and final edition of the elite Champions Trophy hockey tournament will commence tomorrow in the Dutch city of Breda. Considered to be the most prestigious tournament in the hockey calendar after the Olympic Games and the World Cup, the Champions Trophy was launched in 1978 with hosts Pakistan emerging victorious.
India first played in the second edition of the Champions Trophy which was held in Karachi in 1980 where they played out a goalless draw against the hosts and eventual winners Pakistan in the tournament opener. India did not play the third edition of the tournament which was held in 1981 at the same venue but registered their first podium finish the following year as the tournament moved out of Pakistan for the first time.
In Amstelveen, Holland, India beat Pakistan, Soviet Union, and West Germany to win bronze in the Champions Trophy in 1982. This was followed by a medal drought which lasted for as long as 34 years before India won silver a couple of years ago in London.
Can India win gold for the first and last time in the history of the tournament?
A tough round-robin format will see India up against World Champions Australia, Olympic Champions Argentina, Olympic silver-medalists Belgium, hosts Holland, and Pakistan, the architects of the Champions Trophy.
India will face Pakistan in the opener tomorrow, a team which historically has always enjoyed a slight upper hand. Out of a total of 172 matches played between the two thus far, Pakistan has won 82 while India has won 59.
Pakistan has proven to be the biggest obstacle for India in their quest for a medal in the Champions Trophy. India came close to winning bronze in 2002, 2003, and 2004, but lost to Pakistan on all three occasions. In 2014, Pakistan beat India in the semifinal and went on to win silver. India's best-ever performance in the competition was recorded in 2016 when Pakistan did not play the Champions Trophy.
Of late, however, the scales have tilted significantly. Malaysia proved to a lucky hunting ground for India as they beat Pakistan 5-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup in 2016 in Ipoh and followed this up by getting the better of their rivals twice in the Asian Champions Trophy in Pahang, by identical 3-2 margins in the group stages and again in the final.
India simply overran Pakistan in 2017 with a 7-1 thrashing in the HWL Semifinal in London which was followed by another 6-1 thrashing in the same tournament. They further established their dominance in the Asia Cup, beating Pakistan 3-1 in the group stages and 4-0 in the Super 4's in Dhaka last year.
Pakistan came back strongly to force a draw in the CWG at Gold Coast earlier this year when the two teams met last, and India will be hoping for a much better show after the return of veteran Sardar Singh and ace striker Ramandeep Singh.
Silver-medalists India suffered a last-minute hiccup as two of their forwards who had been included in the initial lineup suffered injuries. As a result, Akashdeep Singh and Sumit failed to make it to Breda and Lalit Upadhyaya and Simranjeet Singh took their place.
India is currently ranked sixth while Pakistan is ranked thirteenth as per the FIH, but history, rankings, and recent form mean very little when two of the oldest rivals in the hockey world clash and the encounter at Breda tomorrow promises to be a thriller much like the CWG opener at Gold Coast was.
Here is how you can catch up with all the action.
Event: FIH Men's Champions Trophy
Venue: Breda, Holland
Date: 23 June 2018
Time: 5:30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1
Live Streaming: Hotstar