New Delhi: International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Monday released the pools and match schedule for the Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar. The tournament will start on December 6 and conclude with the final on December 14. World No. 9 India will be in group B with the Netherlands (world No. 2), Germany (World No. 3) and Argentina.
This glamorous, exclusive and prestigious tournament will showcase the very best that hockey has to offer, with some of the finest international teams in the men's game competing to claim the trophy.
Pool A will consist of 2014 World Cup and defending champions, Australia; Commonwealth Games bronze medallists, England; Euro nations silver medallists, Belgium and current Asian Games champions, Pakistan. While in Pool B, hosts India, will face World Cup 2014 bronze medallists, Argentina; World Cup 2014 runners-up, the Netherlands and 2012 Olympic gold medallists, Germany.
The Champions Trophy has a long and illustrious history since it was founded in 1978 by Pakistan's Air Marshal Nur Khan - former President of the Pakistan Hockey Federation. Pakistan remain the only Asian team to win the competition to date and earned their place at the 2014 competition through their third place result in the 2012 tournament in Melbourne. Eyes will be on their performance, having missed out on qualifying for the World Cup earlier this year for the first time in their history.
The opening day of the tournament (December 6) will feature all eight teams taking to the field on India's first newly built Olympic standard pink and blue hockey pitch in the Kalinga Stadium. The 5,000-seater stadium also serves as the home ground for Hockey India League franchise, Kalinga Lancers.
FIH president, Leandro Negre said: "We are excited about the tournament as we know fans in Bhubaneswar love hockey, as witnessed by the packed stands during the Hockey India League earlier this year at the Kalinga Stadium."
"This is indeed a very exciting time for hockey lovers as the best teams of the world are converging in Bhubaneswar to win the coveted trophy. The fan following of the sport is on an upswing in India. The country is all geared up to host the international teams and witness some unforgettable hockey moments being created in Bhubaneswar in December this year," Narinder Batra, Hockey India Secretary General said.