The battle for men’s World Cup qualification has started in London, with 10 of the top teams in world hockey participating in the Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final between June 15-25.
Hosts England are competing at Lee Valley at the £30million Olympic legacy venue Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Scotland, Olympic champions Argentina, European champions the Netherlands, India, runners-up in last summer’s Champions Trophy, their rivals Pakistan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Scotland and Canada also take part.
On the pitch, there are 33 matches as teams battle it out for World Cup qualification in the year’s biggest hockey event in this country.
The top four teams at the tournament will secure their places at the Hockey World League Final, but it will depend on India’s performance.
Should they miss out on the semi-finals in London, only three teams will reach the World League Final. India will take part in the Final, as they are set to host the event in Bhubaneswar from December 1-10.
However Chinglensana Singh, India’s new vice-captain, said that he is more than ready for the London event.
The midfielder said: “This is an important tour for us. I’m very excited to be entrusted with this new responsibility. It’s time for me to prove myself.”
If Pakistan fail to qualify, they will have to win Asian Champions Trophy, which will be held in India, in their bid to seal a berth at the sport’s showpiece which they last won in 1982.
In London over the coming days, the World League group stages will finish on June 20. The last eight is scheduled for June 22, the semi-finals two days later and Finals day set for June 25.
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