India to face Pakistan in opening match of CWG hockey

According to the schedule announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) today, Asian champion India is placed in a relatively easy but tricky Pool B alongside Pakistan, the last edition’s bronze medallist England, Malaysia and Wales.

The Indian men’s team will play Pakistan in its first match on April 7, followed by games against Wales (April 8), Malaysia (April 10) and England (April 11).   -  K. Murali Kumar

Reigning silver medallist India will open its campaign against arch-rival Pakistan in a mouth-watering men’s hockey contest of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

According to the schedule announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) today, Asian champion India is placed in a relatively easy but tricky Pool B alongside Pakistan, the last edition’s bronze medallist England, Malaysia and Wales.

Five-time champion and host Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and Scotland feature in Pool A.

The Indian men’s team will play Pakistan in its first match on April 7, followed by games against Wales (April 8), Malaysia (April 10) and England (April 11).

Read: India needs to focus on the bigger picture after hockey Asia Cup win

Meanwhile, the Indian women’s team has been clubbed in Pool A, which comprises current silver medallist England, South Africa, Malaysia and Wales.

Title holder Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Ghana are placed in Pool B of the women’s competition.

The Indian women’s team will play the tournament opener against Wales on April 5 before squaring off against Malaysia (April 6), followed by England (April 8) and South Africa (April 10).

In the men’s competition, Australia has been reigning supreme when it comes to the Commonwealth Games - five editions, five victories -so there will be a queue of nations lining up for a crack at the title, not least recently crowned Asian champion India, which has been runner-up in the past two editions.

Read: What the Asia Cup means for Indian hockey

In the women’s competition, current champion Australia will want to impress in front of the home crowd, while England and New Zealand will both look to get their names on the trophy for the first time.

Two teams from each pool in men’s and women’s section will qualify directly for the semifinals while the rest will play classification matches.

The semifinals in the women’s competition will be held on April 12 while the men’s last four matches will be played a day later on April 13.

The bronze medal, as well as the final matches of both the men's and women's competition, will be played on April 14.

The 11th Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia from April 5 to 14 next year.