The Indian Men's Hockey Team will take to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 with hopes of ending the 48-year drought for a Summer Olympics medal in field hockey. The Blue Army's 2016 Rio Olympics campaign ended with a quarter-final loss to the eventual silver medal winners, Belgium.
Graham Reid's men qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a 11-3 aggregate win over Russia back in the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers. The Blue Army are grouped with Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Spain in Group A of the Tokyo Olympics.
On that note, let us take a brief look at the Indian Men's Hockey Team's opponents in Group A of the Tokyo Olympics:
FIH Rank: The Argentina Men's Hockey Team are ranked 7th in the FIH World Rankings as of 2nd June 2021.
Head Coach: Mario Ranconi is the Head Coach of the Argentina Men's Hockey Team. He was appointed back in October 2020 after German Orozco parted ways with the national team.
Way of Qualification: Argentina won the 2019 Pan American Games by defeating Canada 5-2 in the final to book their place in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Key Players: Pedro Ibarra (defender), Juan Martin Lopez (defender), Ignacio Ortiz (midfielder), Luca Villa (forward).
FIH Rank: The Australian Men's Hockey Team are placed at 2 in the FIH Ranking.
Head Coach: Colin Batch is the Head Coach of the Australian Men's Hockey Team. He took over the role in 2017 and has led the Kookaburras to the Gold Medal in the 2018 Champions Trophy and Bronze Medal in the 2018 World Cup.
Way of Qualification: The Aussies qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by clinching the 2019 Men's Oceania Cup title by defeating New Zealand in the three game series. Batch's men won two games and drew once.
Key Players: Jeremy Hayward (defender), Edward Ockenden (midfielder), Jacob Whetton (midfielder), Trent Mitton (forward)
FIH Rank: The Japanese Men's Hockey Team is ranked 15th in the FIH Rankings.
Head Coach: Indian origin Dutchman Siegfried Aikman is the Head Coach of the Japanese National Team.
Way of Qualification: Japan qualified by virtue of being the host nation.
Key Players: Manabu Yamashita (defender), Genki Mitani (midfielder), Seren Tanaka (midfielder), Kota Watanabe (forward),
FIH Rank: The New Zealand Men's Hockey Team are ranked 8th in the FIH Rankings.
Head Coach: Former New Zealand Hockey player Darren Smith is the Head Coach of the Kiwi National Team. The Black Sticks went on to win the silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast under his reign.
Way of Qualification: New Zealand qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after going past South Korea with a 6-2 aggregate win in the 2019 Men's FIH Olympic Qualifiers.
Key Players: Blair Tarrant (defender), Shea McAleese (defender), Steven Edwards (midfielder), Stephen Jenness (forward)
FIH Rank: The Spain Men's Hockey Team are ranked 9th in the FIH Rankings.
Head Coach: Frederic Soyez is the coach of the Spanish Men's Hockey Team. Spain finished 5th under Soyez's reign in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Way of Qualification: The Redsticks sneaked into the Tokyo Olympics as they edged out France in a tightly contested two-legged tie in the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers. Spain prevailed with a 6-5 aggregate win.
Key Players: Josep Romeu (defender), Miguel Delas (midfielder), David Alegre (midfielder), Pau Quemada (forward)
Indian Men's Hockey Team Fixtures at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
New Zealand vs India - 24 July 2021, 6.30 AM IST
India vs Australia - 25 July 2021, 3 PM IST
India vs Spain - 27 July 2021, 6.30 AM IST
India vs Argentina - 29 July 2021, 6 AM IST
Japan vs India - 30 July 2021, 3 PM IST
How far do you think the Indian Men's Hockey Team will go in the Tokyo Olympics given the presence of Argentina, Australia and New Zealand in Group A? Let us know your thoughts in the comment sections below.