India Hockey Sardar Singh
The Indian hockey team will be keen to perform under the guidance of head coach Paul van Ass.IANS

The FIH Hockey World League semi-finals is set to start from 20 June in Antwerp, Belgium. Top teams such as Pakistan, Australia and Great Britain along with hosts Belgium are expected to make the tournament a huge one.

The teams will not only be fighting for a place in the Hockey World League Finals to be played in December at Mohali, but also for a place in the prestigious 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janerio. Some teams have already booked their berth for the Olympic Games.

Pool A seems to be the tougher group, which includes Australia, Pakistan and India alongside European nations France and Poland. In Pool B, Belgium is the top-ranked side; other countries alongside Belgium are China, Ireland, Great Britain and Malaysia.

Belgium are one of the favourites to top Pool B and the way things have shaped up in recent times, they have impressed one and all with their performance. They are currently ranked ahead of Asian giants India and Pakistan.

But one cannot count out teams like Great Britain and Malaysia as they have been in the circuit for quite some time. With the experience of Barry Middleton, Great Britain will be a strong contender and the skipper is expected to play an influential role in the competition.

Though ranked at 12th position, Malaysia are one of the most aggressive sides at present with their forwards in good goal scoring form.

It is in Pool A where the action will be top notch, primarily because Pakistan, Australia and India are in the same group. Australia, ranked number one, are obviously the favourites. They have come with their best squad and it will take some doing to defeat this Australian side. If Australia fail to progress to the finals of FIH Hockey World League, it will be a huge surprise.

India, who have already qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games, will play pressure-free hockey as they have also qualified for the FIH Hockey World League finals, being hosts. But a good performance will do their confidence a world of good.

As for Pakistan, they have always been a dangerous side and one can never predict about the men in green. They go hot and cold in a matter of seconds.

With the FIH Hockey World League Final slated in December, Argentina, Germany, Netherlands and Canada have already made it. So, teams are aware of the significance of the semi-finals in Belgium, where only four teams can go through to the finals.

Complete Fixtures (all times IST)

20 June

India vs France – 9:30pm

Pakistan vs Poland – 11:30pm

21 June

China vs Malaysia - 3:30pm

Great Britain vs Belgium – 7:30pm

Australia vs France – 9:30 pm

22 June - Rest Day

23 June

Great Britain vs Ireland - 3:30pm

India vs Poland - 7:30pm

Belgium vs China - 9:30 pm

24 June

Poland vs France – 5:30 pm

Pakistan vs Australia – 11:30 pm

25 June

Malaysia vs Ireland – 5:30pm

Great Britain vs China – 7:30pm

26 June

Ireland vs China – 5:30pm

Pakistan vs India – 7:30pm

Malaysia vs Belgium – 9:30pm

Australia vs Poland – 11:30pm

27 June – Rest Day

 28 June

Pakistan vs France – 3:30 pm

Malaysia vs Great Britain – 5:30 pm

India vs Australia – 7:30pm

Belgium vs Ireland – 9:30 pm

1 July

Match 21 - 9/10th place – 5th in Pool A vs 5th in Pool B - 2pm

Match 22 – 1st in Pool A vs 4th in Pool B – 4:30pm

Match 23 – 2nd in Pool B vs 3rd in Pool A -7pm

Match 24 - 2nd in Pool A vs 3rd in Pool B -9:30

Match 25 -1st in Pool B vs 4th in Pool A – 12am

3 July

Match 26 - Loser Match 22 vs Loser Match 23 – 4:30pm

Match 27 - Loser Match 24 vs Loser Match 25 – 7pm

Match 28 – SF- Winner Match 22 vs Winner Match 23 – 9:30pm

Match 29 – SF- Winner Match 24 vs Winner Match 25 – 12 am

5 July

7/8th Place – Loser Match 26 vs Loser Match 27 – 2pm

5/6th Place – Winner Match 26 vs Winner Match 27 – 4:30pm

3/4th Place - Loser Match 28 vs Loser Match 29 – 7pm

FINAL – Winner Match 28 vs Winner Match 29 – 9:30pm

Live Tv Information

India, Japan, Korea – Star Sports

Pakistan – PTV

Great Britain and Ireland – Sky Sports

Australia – Fox Sports