The burden of expectations will be the highest on the India men’s and women’s hockey teams for the 2018 Asian Games. First, India is the top-ranked Asian team in the tournament in both the categories and their scintillating performances in the tournaments preceding the event -- men’s silver medal finish at the Champions Trophy and Women’s journey into the quarterfinals at the Hockey World Cup.
Indian Eves, led by Rani Rampal, are drawn in the Pool B alongside Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Indonesia. Sjoerd Marijne’s team will carry the confidence from the recently concluded Women’s Hockey World Cup where India was the best Asian team. Last time’s bronze medal winner will open its campaign against host Thailand, on August 19. India, currently ninth in the world rankings, will take on Kazakhstan, which is the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, in its next match on 21 August 21. Defending champion Korea will be India’s next opponent on August 25, followed by the final group game against Thailand on August 27.
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First-placed team from Pool B will face second-placed team in Pool A and vice-versa. Pool A has the likes of China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong China and Chinese Taipei. Semifinals will take place on August 29 and final followed by the medal ceremony on August 31.
Confidence will be with the Indian men’s team, after it almost beat World No. 1 Australia to the Champions Trophy title in July. India will be expected to defend its title from the 2014 games given P.R. Sreejesh and Co are the highest ranked team in the tournament—fifth in the latest standings pushing Germany to sixth. Harendra Singh’s men are drawn in Pool A alongside Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong China and Indonesia. The men’s team will also open its campaign against host Indonesia on August 20. Two days later, India will face HongKong China followed by Japan on August 24. Previous edition’s Bronze medallist Korea will be India’s penultimate group game on August 26 and with the final group game against unranked Sri Lanka on August 28.
First-placed team from Pool B will face second-placed team in Pool A and vice-versa. Pool B has the likes of Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman,Thailand and Kazakhstan. Semifinals will take place on August 30 and final followed by the medal ceremony on September 1.
India Hockey Schedule: (Timings in IST)
Sunday, 19 August, India vs Indonesia 6:30 pm
Tuesday, 21 August, India vs Kazakhstan 6:30 pm
Saturday, 25 August, India vs Korea 6:30 pm
Monday, 27 August India vs Thailand 12:30 pm
Monday, 20 August, India vs Indonesia 6:30 pm
Wednesday, 22 August, India vs Hong Kong China 12:30 pm
Friday, 24 August, India vs Japan 6:30 pm
Sunday, 26 August, India vs Korea 4:30 pm
Tuesday, 28 August, India vs Sri Lanka 2:30 pm
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