FIH Hockey World League Final 2017: Team Rankings
Here's the journey of the finalists in brief.
When the first leg of the FIH Hockey World League was being played out in Singapore, there was a lot of anticipation shrouded around the teams that would make it to the finals. Now, eight months down the line, we have our eight teams ready to battle it out for the championship which will be held in Bhubhaneshwar from December 1-10.
The eight teams are split into two groups for the finals. Group A comprises of Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain while Group B will see England, Germany, Australia and hosts India battling it out.
Ahead of the much-anticipated finals, here are the teams' world rankings and their journey to the finals in brief.
ARGENTINA: World Rank - 1
The Argentinians finished second on the table with five wins and one tie from six encounters. They were at their attacking best against China when they decimated them 10-0 which followed a 2-1 win against Korea, 5-2 win against Malaysia and a 3-3 tie against England. However, in the finals, they fell short to Netherlands to finish second.
AUSTRALIA: World Rank - 2
Defending champions Australia will be oozing with confidence having won six of their seven games including a massive 8-1 win in the third-place playoff. While their only stumble was the 1-2 loss to Belgium, wins in the remaining games prove their threat to oppositions.
BELGIUM: World Rank - 3
Having topped their semi-final group, Belgium will be riding high on confidence. Exhibiting an attacking style of play, Belgium managed huge wins with their biggest one coming against Egypt (10-0) while their 6-2 win against Ireland, 9-1 against RSA were convincing. Barring the one loss to Germany, Belgium's will definitely fancy their chances in the finals.
NETHERLANDS: World Rank - 4
Bringing their A-game in the semifinals, Netherlands remained unbeaten in the eight games including the finals, asserting their dominance in the league. Their best performance was the 7-0 rout against China while a 4-0 win against Pakistan, 3-0 win against Scotland, 3-1 win against Canada and India, 2-0 against England and a strong 6-1 win in the finals will hold them in good stead for the finals.
GERMANY: World Rank - 5
The Germans foiled most teams' plans with clever passages of play as they finished second on the table. Unbeaten in the group stages, Germany fell short only in the finals of the semis group against Belgium. 5-0 (Egypt), 4-3 (RSA), 3-2 (Belgium), 2-0 (Ireland), 4-1 (France) and a shootout victory against Spain would have given them the right amount of confidence ahead of the finals.
INDIA: World Rank - 6
The Indians did not qualify for the semis from the playoffs in London but will feature in the finals since they are hosting the finals. Four wins from seven games are not very satisfactory by the lofty standards of the Indian team but they will back themselves to come good in the finals with a strong line-up. However, the major boost for the Indian team will be the 2-0 whitewash of the Pakistan team which will aid their run for the spoils.
ENGLAND: World Rank - 7
The Englishmen will be itching to have a go in the finals, having won four of their games, drawn one and lost just the one game on the path to the ultimate stage. After their 2-0 taming of China, they came out all guns blazing against Malaysia with a 7-3 win and followed it up with a tie against Argentina and a 7-2 decimation of Korea. After their only loss to Netherlands in the final group stage match, a win against Malaysia in their third-place playoff would have done them a whole lot of good.
SPAIN: World Rank - 9
With four wins from six games, Spain would have considered themselves lucky to be a part of the finals, having qualified for the finals. They started their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Japan but fell to continuous losses at the hands of Australia and France by a 0-2 margin. However, they bounced back with a 4-3 win against NZ and a 2-1 victory over Ireland but a heartbreaking loss in the shootout against Germany derailed their campaign as they lost the 3rd place play-off to Australia by a huge 8-1 margin.