The Six Nations Invitational Tournament is about to commence at the Spanish destination of Valencia. As a preparatory meet, it will provide India with the opportunity to spar with their Olympic groupmates Argentina, Ireland, and hot-shots Germany.
Let us now take a look at India’s schedule for the Championship:
Match One – India vs Germany:
After facing each other in a breathtaking Champions Trophy 2016 opener, India and Germany will lock horns in their second opening game of a tournament this month.
At London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park two weeks back, the Indians proved to be a tough challenge for the back-to-back Olympic gold winners who managed to scrape through for a point after trailing 1-3 at one stage. Eventually, however, it was the Men in Blue who finished with a higher standing of 2nd place, one ahead of the defending champions who would now be raring to get even in the Valencia event.
With the top two seeds playing in the very first game, the Six Nations Cup is expected to get off to a thrilling start come Monday.
Date & Time: 27th June, 07:30 pm.
Match Two – India vs Ireland:
The last time these two teams played each other was in the 3rd stage of Hockey World League Qualification way back in June 2013, when India overcame a one-goal deficit at half-time to finish 4-4 in a thrilling goal fest to finish in third place in their group above only the Irish unit.
Since then, it has been a remarkable climb for Indian hockey – one that sees them ranked fifth by the FIH today, miles ahead of Ireland in the 12th position.
Date & Time: 28th June, 07:30 pm
Match Three – India vs New Zealand:
Earlier this year, New Zealand found the better of India at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2016 at Ipoh, Malaysia, where the Blueshirts failed to make it three wins on the trot after successive outs of Canada and Pakistan.
Prior to their 1-2 defeat against the Black Sticks this April, however, India had stunned them 3-2 after going 0-2 down in the first half to reach the final clash at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games semis.
Date & Time: 30th June, 09:30 pm.
Match Four – India vs Argentina:
When it comes to facing Argentina, India would require being extra watchful – given their shoddy head-to-head record against the South American side in the past couple of years.
A 4-2 at the 2014 Hockey Champions Trophy and a resounding 3-0 victory over the Indians in their World League Group fixture in November 2015 later, Argentina has just been surpassed by the Men in Blue in the FIH rankings. Hence, India’s fourth match of the meet promises to be an evenly poised contest.
Date & Time: 2nd July, 05:30 pm.
Match Five – India vs Spain:
India will take on hosts Spain in their closing game before setting sight at the ultimate task that Rio 2016 poses for them.
A side that is struggling to break into the Top 10 in the international rankings, Spain drew 1-1 with India in their previous encounter at the 2014 World Cup, prior to which they had edged past the Blueshirts through a tie-breaker at the 5th-8th playoffs of Hockey World League Qualification. This time around, India are firm favourites to ease past the Spaniards when they face off in Valencia.
Date & Time: 3rd July, 03:30 pm.
All timings are given as per the Indian Standard [IST].
The matches won’t be telecast/streamed live but we will update every tiny thing on our live blog.