The powerhouses of international hockey are set to engage in a pitched battle on the green turf when the World Hockey League Finals 2017 kick starts at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on Friday.
The World Hockey league featuring the top eight sides of the world shall be played out from December 1 to December 10. Hosts India shall be locking horns against Australia in their opening group fixture on Friday.
The tournament came into existence after the London Olympics 2012 and has served as FIH's qualifying tournament for the Summer Olympics and the World Cup.
WORLD HOCKEY LEAGUE VENUES
The state of art Kalinga multi-purpose stadium at Bhubaneshwar shall once again serve as a venue for all the matches. India has had the honour of hosting the previous two editions of the showpiece event.
There is a lot to play for as the winner of the tournament shall qualify for the Men's Champions Trophy next year. All the eight teams featuring in the Hockey League have already qualified for next year's World Cup so the results won't have that much of a bearing
WORLD HOCKEY LEAGUE FORMAT
The eight teams have been divided into two groups of four each.
Each team will play three matches in the round-robin phase from December 1st December 5th. After completing their round robing assignments, the teams then move into the crossover quarter-final stage where the respective pool winners will face the fourth-placed team from the opposition pool.
The second and third finishers from each pool also square-off in the knockout quarter-final. The winners from this stage enter the semi-finals while the losing teams play in losing quarter-finalist matches for placement.
TEAMS AND GROUPS
GROUP A: Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, and Spain
GROUP B: Australia, Germany, India and England