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India placed in easy pool at Hockey World Cup

16 teams -15 qualifying nations and hosts India- will battle it out for the top honours.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

India has been placed in a relatively easy pool C along with Belgium, Canada and South Africa while four-time winners Pakistan are in pool D-group of death- along with the Netherlands, Germany and Malaysia in the Odisha Hockey World Cup to be played in Bhubaneswar from 28 November to 16 December.

16 teams -15 qualifying nations and hosts India- will battle it out for the top honours.The teams qualified thanks to their performances either at the last year’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals competitions in London and Johannesburg or by being crowned as continental champions.

The teams have been split into four pools of four, with Rio 2016 Olympic champions Argentina ( World Ranking: 2) competing in Pool A alongside New Zealand ( 9), Spain (8) and France (WR:18), While reigning world champions Australia (1) take on England (7), Ireland (10) and China (17) in Pool B.

Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Belgium (3) will compete in Pool C alongside with home favourite and 1975 world champions India (6), Canada (11) and African continental champions South Africa (15), with European title holders and three-time world champions the Netherlands (4) taking on two-time champions Germany (5), Malaysia (12) and Pakistan (13), in a tough looking Pool D.

There are numerous eye-catching fixtures in the pool phase, including the mouth-watering Pool D meeting two former world champions in Germany and Pakistan on Saturday 1 December, Asia champions India taking on European giants Belgium on Sunday 2 December and England aiming to upset the odds against the mighty Kookaburras of Australia on Tuesday 4 December.

A first place finish in each pool will guarantee a berth in the Quarter-Finals, with the second and third place finishers in each pool needing to win a cross-over match, which will be played on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 December, in order to reach the last eight. The Quarter-Finals will take place on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 December.

Following a rest day on Friday 14 December, a huge weekend of action will take place. The event Semi-Finals will be played on Saturday 15 December, with the bronze medal and the showpiece Final scheduled for Sunday 16 December.

Following a rest day on Friday Semi-Finals will be played on Saturday, with the bronze medal and the showpiece Final scheduled for Sunday 16 December.