Top hockey nations from Asia are gearing up for the Men's Hockey Champions Trophy, which is scheduled to take shape from Thursday in Malaysia. India, Pakistan, China, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia are the six participating teams in the competition.
All these countries have it in them to shine in the Asian Men's Hockey Champions Trophy, and play some quality hockey. India, who were the only country to feature from Asia in the Rio Olympics, will be one of the teams to beat. India played some good hockey in Rio, and will eye the title in Malaysia.
Having said that teams like Pakistan and South Korea have always been a huge force in Asia, and one cannot ignore Malaysia, who are the hosts of the competition. Besides being hosts, they are a constantly improving side like Japan, who finished runners-up in the last edition of the competition.
India won the inaugural Asian Men's Hockey Champions Trophy in 2011, while Pakistan have won the last two editions. Pakistan have been the most consistent team in the competition, reaching the finals in all the editions, while India were hugely disappointing last year, finishing fifth.
The six teams in the competition will be involved in the group stages after which the top four teams will reach the semi-finals. Prior to the knockout stages, there are a number of mouth-watering clashes, one of them being the India vs Pakistan clash, which is expected to be a humdinger of a contest on Sunday.
With some quality teams in the competition, the team which plays consistent hockey will have a greater chance of lifting the title on October 30.
Malaysia vs Pakistan (4 pm IST)
India vs Japan (6 pm IST)
Pakistan vs South Korea (4 pm IST)
Malaysia vs China (6 pm IST)
India vs South Korea (4 pm IST)
China vs Japan (6 pm IST)
India vs Pakistan (4 pm IST)
Malaysia vs Japan (6 pm IST)
South Korea vs China (4 pm IST)
Pakistan vs Japan (4 pm IST)
India vs China (6 pm IST)
South Korea vs Japan (4 pm IST)
Malaysia vs India (6 pm IST)
Pakistan vs China (4 pm IST)
South Korea vs Malaysia (6 pm IST)
5/6th place (1.30 pm IST)
Semifinal 1: 2nd vs 3rd (3.45 pm IST)
Semifinal 2: 1st vs 4th (6 pm IST)
3/4th place – Loser of SF 1 vs SF2 (3.45 pm IST)
Final – Winner of SF 1 vs SF2 (6 pm IST)
All the matches will be played in Kuantan, Malaysia
TV listings: India: Star Sports 4.