FIH Hockey World Cup 2018: India pooled with Belgium, Canada and South Africa
Hockey fans across the world will have a lot to look forward to later this year as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced the pools and also laid out the schedule for the Hockey Men's World Cup, due to be held in Bhubaneshwar from the 28th November to the 16th of December 2018.
India have been drawn alongside Belgium, Canada and South Africa in Pool C.
The World Cup, which will be contested at the Kalinga Stadium in Odisha, will play host to teams from 15 nations, who qualified through the Hockey World League semi-finals that were held in London and Johannesburg earlier last year.
The group stages of the competition, which will be played out by four groups according to the pool division will be held from 28th November - 9th December which will feature two matches in a single day.
The 16 teams competing in the competition have been divided into four groups.
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.
A first-place finish guarantees each team direct qualification for the quarter-Finals on 12th and 13th December while the second and third-placed teams will battle it out for a spot as well. The semi-finals will take place on the 15th of December which will serve as a prequel to the massive final on the 16th of December.
India's pool stages schedule
The Indian team, which has been pitted alongside Belgium (W.R 2), Canada (W.R 11) and South Africa (W.R 15) in Group C will have its task cut out following a mixed bag of success in the qualifiers leading to the tournament.
India will face off against African continental champions South Africa for its first game on the 28th of November followed by a massive clash against Belgium on the 2nd of December 2018.
Following a lengthy break, the Men in Blue will then lock horns against Canada on the 8th of December which will close out the league stage encounters. Here's the list of India's league stage encounters.
November 28th, 2018 (19:00 IST) - India vs South Africa
December 2nd, 2018 (19:00 IST) - India vs Belgium
December 8th, 2018 (19:00 IST) - India vs Canada