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Hockey: Indian men to begin campaign against NZ, women face Netherlands at Tokyo Olympics

Sports Lounge Staff

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Lausanne: Desperate to end its four-decade medal jinx, the Indian men’s hockey team will open its campaign against New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics on July 24 next year.

The women’s side will be up against mighty Netherlands in their first match on the same day.

Eight-time champions India have bee clubbed along side Australia, Argentina, Spain, New Zealand and hosts Japan in a tough Pool A in the men’s competition, while Pool B consists of Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Canada and South Africa.

The Tokyo Olympics was originally scheduled to be held in 2020 but has been postponed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indian men’s team, which won its last of the eight Olympic golds in 1980 Moscow, will next Australia on July 25, followed by matches against Spain (July 27), reigning Olympic champions Argentina (July 29) and Japan (July 30).

In the women’s competition, India are placed in Pool A along side Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa, while Pool B is made up of Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Spain, China and Japan.

After their Games opener against Netherlands on July 24, the Indian women’s team will play Germany (July 26), Great Britain (July 28), Argentina (July 29) and Japan (July 30).

The hockey event was originally scheduled to run from July 25 until August 7 August 2020, with matches being played at the purpose-built Oi Hockey Stadium in Japan’s capital city.

Besides the revised schedule announced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Friday, nothing has changed in terms of the location and overall running order of the matches.

In line with what was planned for this year, the opening match of next year’s Olympic Games will be contested between the men teams of Japan and Australia, while the opening match of the women;s tournament will be played on the same day, with reigning world champions and current world number one the Netherlands taking on India.

The top four sides from the two pools in both men and women’s competition will qualify for the quarterfinals.

The men’s quarterfinals, semifinals and final are scheduled for August 1, 3 and 5 respectively, while the knock-out matches of the women’s competition will be played on August 2, 4 and 6.

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