Hosts India won't have an easy course to charter in their campaign at the World Hockey League finals after they were placed alongside formidable sides like world champions Australia and reigning Olympic bronze medallist Germany in Group B of the premier tournament to be held in Bhubaneswar from December 1 to 10.
Besides India, World League champions Australia and Germany, Pool B also features seventh placed England, who are the reigning bronze medallist in the Euro Hockey NationsChampionship.
According to the schedule announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Thursday, India will open their campaign against the mighty Kookaburras on December 1 before taking on England (December 2) and Germany (December 4).
Pool A, meanwhile, consists of Olympic champions Argentina, European champions Netherlands, Olympic silver medallists Belgium and Spain. European rivals Germany and England will get the event off to a flier at the Kalinga Stadium before the India- Australia duel. In what is being billed as 'Super Saturday', December 2is set to be a thriller with some eagerly anticipated matches scheduled.
A rerun of the 2016 Olympic gold medal match between Argentina and Belgium gets the day underway in a match that is bound to rekindle some fond memories from that special night in Rio just over a year ago.
The Pool stages will run from December 1-5 and will be followed by the quarter-finals on December 6-7. Following that classification matches, semi-finals will take place over the next two days before the bronze medal match and Final on December 10.
Pool A: Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain
Pool B: Australia, India, Germany, England