Pulsating action, exceptional stickwork, a big upset, riveting skills -- The 2018 Hockey World Cup has witnessed it all in the matches so far. And the good news is that we are only just done with the Group stage and things will get even more interesting from here.
The knockout stage starts with the first crossover game between England (the second-placed team in Pool B) and New Zealand (the third-placed team in Pool A). The winner of the match will get to face the Los Leones -- Argentina -- in the quarterfinal.
Danny Kerry and his troops are currently 7th in the world (as per FIH Rankings). They played well in the Group stage. They drew against a spirited Chinese team in the first match, went on to lose 0-3 against The Kookaburras, and defeated Ireland 4-2 in the third and final pool match.
Overall, the English team managed to get four points on board with a goal difference of -1 -- this enabled them to finish 2nd in the Pool behind the World Champions Australia.
New Zealand have had a fairly similar run in the competition so far. Out of their three pool matches, the Black Sticks won one match (against France), drew one (against Spain), and lost one (against Argentina). They posted four points on the board with a goal difference of -2. France finished in 2nd spot in the Pool as they had a better goal difference.
Kane Russell and Stephen Jenness will be the two men to watch out for in the Black Sticks' line-up while Liam Ansell, Mark Gleghorne, and David Condon are some of the players who have performed exceptionally well for England.
Here is all you need to know about the upcoming match between England and New Zealand:
Event: Men's Hockey World Cup 2018
Venue: Bhubaneswar, India
Date: 10 December 2018
Time: 4:45 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
India: Star Sports, Star Sports HD
UK: BT Sport
Australia: Fox Sports
New Zealand: Sky Sports (NZ)
South Africa: SuperSport
Live Streaming: Hotstar, FIH Official Youtube Channel
Live Updates: Sportskeeda
England and New Zealand are not unknown to each other. Out of the four times they have clashed since 2013, England have won twice while New Zealand have bagged victories on two occasions. It is bound to be a close match but England's players have performed marginally better and they should win the match by a slim margin.
Score Prediction: England 3 - 2 New Zealand