The Hockey World League Final in Raipur produced some brilliant matches during the round robin stages with Great Britain and the Netherlands topping Group A and B respectively. Now, the action shifts to the quarter finals, which has some mouth watering clashes lined up.
Australia, Belgium and Canada finished second, third and fourth respectively in Group A, while Argentina, Germany and India were second, third and fourth respectively in Group B.
Australia vs Germany, without a shadow of doubt, is one of the biggest quarter finals in the HWL Final with both the teams being superpowers in world hockey. Australia, who were defeated by Great Britain, were among the favourites for the title before the competition started and they need to up their game in the remainder of the competition if they are to clinch the title.
Germany, on the other hand, have been surprisingly weak in front of goal as they have only scored two goals. If they continue to play in the same vain, Australia might sneak through to the semi final of the HWL.
Great Britain, who were one of the standout teams in the HWL Final, will face hosts India in the quarter final, which should be an interesting contest with India egged on by the home crowd. Such support could help India come up with their best hockey, which is required against the in-form GB team, who have been superb as they defeated the might of Australia with ease and Canada as well.
India will need their offensive players to find a way to score goals when a chance comes by. Their performance in the final third has not been inspiring. Players such as Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil need to deliver the goods in Raipur to progress to the semi finals, which is not going to be any easy.
The top team in Group B, the Netherlands, will face Canada, which should not pose much problems for the defending champions as the latter has resembled the weakest team in the competition. Netherlands will be a confident unit when they take on Canada especially after topping a tough Group B.
The final quarter final between Argentina and Belgium has all the ingredients to be a cracker, especially if one looks at their performances of late. Argentina were the best team offensively in Group A with eight goals to their name and Belgium were even more impressive with 10 goals. Argentina vs Belgium clash has goals written all over it.
Though, some teams may have played brilliant hockey and others may not have, all teams in the quarter final stage have got a great chance in reaching the semi finals if their players outshine their opponents on the given day. So, there is plenty to play for in the HWL Finals in Raipur.
Hockey World League quarter finals schedule
Netherlands vs Canada (6:30pm IST, 1pm GMT)
Australia vs Germany (8:45pm IST, 3:15 pm GMT)
Great Britain vs India (6:30pm IST, 1pm GMT)
Argentina vs Belgium (8:45pm IST, 3:15 pm GMT)
Venue - Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Hockey Stadium in Raipur
TV listings – India (Star Sports), BT Sport (the UK) Australia (Fox Sports), Canada (ATN), Pakistan (PTV)