India Win One, Draw One at Hockey World Cup: What’s Next?
A solid second half performance and India managed to eke out a 2-2 draw against Pool C’s top ranked team Belgium on Sunday night in the ongoing Hockey World Cup.
Alexander Hendrickx opened the scoring for Belgium in the eighth minute but Harmanpreet Singh equalised for the hosts off a penalty stroke in the 39th. Simranjeet Singh then put them in the lead in the 47th but Belgium managed to share the points after Florent van Aubel scored nine minutes later for the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallists.
Splitting the points with Belgium after their second outing of the tournament, India now lead Pool C with Belgium placed second on goal difference.
Belgium vs India For Top Spot
India lead the group but Belgium, currently ranked third in the world, were the favourites to qualify from Pool C in the top spot. India are placed fifth in the FIH rankings while Canada are 11th and South Africa are currently 15th.
India opened their tournament with a strong 5-0 win over South Africa while Belgium struggled in their 2-1 win over Canada. It was then followed by Sunday’s 2-2 draw between the teams, with Canada and South Africa also playing out a 1-1 deadlock.
Unless South Africa and Canada pull off a massive upset, India are Belgium are set to take up the top two spots with the final placing to be decided on 8 December.
India’s Final Pool Game vs Canada
One win, a draw and seven goals so far in the league stage and India have ensured they will definitely be moving to the next phase of this tournament.
Now whether they finish second in the group and move into the cross-over matches or top the group and go straight through to the quarters will be decided by the outcome of their final fixture, against Canada on 8 December.
This edition of the Hockey World Cup – for only the second time ever – is a 16-nation tournament with four teams divided in four pools. The table-toppers qualify straight to the quarters while the second and third placed teams move into the ‘cross-over’ round that will feature a total of eight teams which play each other in knockout matches.
If India do finish second in Pool C, there is a high possibility of an India-Pakistan clash on 11 December if Pakistan finish third in Pool D. They are currently placed third after a 1-0 loss to Germany on 1 December. The two other teams in their group are Netherlands and Malaysia.