India, Pakistan to clash in the Hockey World League semifinals in 2017

India and Pakistan will clash against each other on the 18th of June, 2017 in the Hockey World League semifinals

The Indian hockey team, who are the current Asian champions have been clubbed in the same pool alongside neighbours and arch-rivals, Pakistan, for the men’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final 2017.

The prestigious event which is also a qualifying event for the World Cup that will be held in 2018 is set to be staged at Lee Valley’s Hockey and Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from the 15th to 25th of June.

The tournament will feature 10 of the world’s best men’s hockey teams, of which six teams have already been confirmed for the showcase event. These include the likes of hosts England, Asian champions India, Rio Olympic champions Argentina, reigning European champions Netherlands, Korea and Pakistan.

The rest of the four teams will make the cut through qualifications in the Hockey World League Round 2 events which will take place between January and April next year.

In the HWL Semi-Final, June 18 has been dubbed as “SUPER SUNDAY” since the first fixture of the day will see India lock horns against Pakistan with not just a win at stake but pride, glory and reputation all combined. With a total of 11 Olympic titles between the two countries, their rivalry is tipped to be one of the greatest and fiercest in the sport of hockey.

Recently in the Asian Champions Trophy, India defeated Pakistan 3-2 in a thrilling final in Malaysia, and as such Pakistan will be out to seek revenge in what will be an action-packed encounter.

Besides Pakistan, the only other team that has secured a confirmed place in the same pool as India is Netherlands, who won the European Championships back in 2015 after defeating Germany 6-1 in the finals.

As for what lies at stake for participating in these Hockey World League Semi-Finals, primarily the FIH Hero World Ranking points will be awarded depending on final standings. In addition to that, the top teams from each Semi-Final will qualify for the 2018 Hockey World Cups in India (men) and England (women) along with the Hockey World League Finals taking place in India (men) and New Zealand (women) later in 2017.

Considering India’s current form, the men's hockey team led by VR Raghunath is on tour Down Under for a two-match hockey series. In the first of the two fixtures, the Indian team managed to edge past Australia 3-2 courtesy of a brace from striker Affan Yousuf and a goal from captain Raghunath.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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