New Delhi: In a favourable draw, hosts India were clubbed in Pool C alongside Olympics silver medallists Belgium, World No 11 Canada and African continental champions South Africa in the men's Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28-December 16.
According to the schedule announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) today, Asian champions India will open their campaign against South Africa on November 28 before taking on European giants Belgium on December 2 and Canada on December 8.
Pool A, meanwhile, consists of Rio 2016 Olympic champions Argentina, New Zealand, Spain and France. There are a few marquee fixtures in the pool phase, including the mouth-watering Pool D meeting between two former world champions Germany and Pakistan on December 1.
England will be aiming to upset the mighty Australians on December 4. The Pool stages will run from November 28 to December 9 and will be followed by the quarterfinals on December 12-13.
A first-place finish in each pool will guarantee a berth in the quarterfinals, with the second and third place finishers in each pool needing to win a cross-over match, which will be played on 10-11 December, in order to reach the last eight. The quarterfinals will take place on 12 -13 December. The semifinals will be played on 15 December, with the bronze medal and the showpiece final scheduled for 16 December.
Pool A: Argentina, New Zealand, Spain, France
Pool B: Australia, England, Ireland, China
Pool C: Belgium, India, Canada, South Africa
Pool D: Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan.