The 10th edition of Hockey Asia Cup will begin at Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday, October 11 with India taking on Japan and Pakistan facing hosts Bangladesh on the opening day.
The eight-team tournament will serve as a platform for 2018 World Cup as the winner will directly qualify for the marquee event, which will be held from November 24 in India.
Two-time champions and last edition's runners-up, India, are favourites to win the tournament as they head to Dhaka as the highest-ranked Asian side.
India have been the most dominant side in the continental tournament despite winning the title only two times (2003 and 2007). While South Korea have won it four times, India have reached the final of the tournament eight out of 10 times.
Meanwhile, Malaysia, ranked 12 in the world, will lead Pool B, which also has defending champions South Korea, China and Oman.
Four-time champions South Korea will battle for group supremacy with Southeast Asian giants in Pool B. The two teams meet on the second matchday of the group -- Saturday, October 14.
Teams [FIH Rankings in parentheses]
|Pool A||Pool B|
|India ||Malaysia |
|Pakistan ||South Korea |
|Japan ||China |
|Bangladesh ||Oman |
How to watch matches online
India: TV: Star Sports 2/HD; Live streaming: Hotstar
Malaysia: TV: Astro Arena/HD ; Live streaming: Astro Go
Pakistan: TV: PTV; Live streaming: PTV Sports Live
Japan: TV: TV Tokyo
Two teams from each pool will progress to the Super 4s.
At the end of the single-legged round-robin matches in Super 4, the top two teams will play the final, while the third and fourth-placed teams will play the third-place match.
|India vs Japan||11 October||3pm local time, 2:30pm IST|
|Pakistan vs Bangladesh||11 October||5:30pm local time, 5pm IST|
|Japan vs Pakistan||13 October||3pm local time, 2:30pm IST|
|India vs Bangladesh||13 October||5:30pm local time, 5pm IST|
|Japan vs Bangladesh||15 October||3pm local time, 2:30pm IST|
|India vs Pakistan||15 October||5:30pm local time, 5pm IST|
|Malaysia vs China||12 October||3pm local time, 2:30pm IST|
|South Korea vs Oman||12 October||5:30pm local time, 5pm IST|
|China vs Oman||14 October||3pm local time, 2:30pm IST|
|South Korea vs Malaysia||14 October||5:30pm local time, 5pm IST|
|Malaysia vs Oman||16 October||3pm local time, 2:30pm IST|
|China vs South Korea||16 October||5:30pm local time, 5pm IST|
The second round (Super 4s) will be played between October 18 and October 21.
What to expect from India
Led by Manpreet Singh, the Asian giants have a good mix of experience and youth in the 18-member squad. Veteran midfielder Sardar Singh, along with forwards SV Sunil and Aakashdep Singh have returned to the squad after missing the Europe Tour in August.
India are drawn in Group A along with Bangladesh, Japan and Pakistan. Manpreet's side will take on Pakistan in the much-anticipated head-to-head clash on Sunday, October 15. Notably, former coach Roelant Oltmans' side had beaten their arch-rivals twice during Hockey World League semi-final, played in London in June.
India had an impressive run in the Europe Tour. Despite losing to Belgium twice, the new-look side bounced back and defeated Netherlands twice and ended the tour on a high by beating Austria in a thriller.
Gurjant Singh, who impressed during the tour, has been named in the squad for the Asia Cup.
Focus on Sjoerd Marijne
It will be interesting to see how chief coach Sjoerd Marijne performs under pressure. Notably, the Dutchman along with India's High-Performance Director David John made sure India prepared well for the Asia Cup by having a six-week national camp.
Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera
Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar
Midfielders: SK Uthappa, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Chinglensana Singh, Sumit
Forwards: S.V. Sunil (vice-captain), Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar, Gurjant Singh, Satbir Singh