Tokyo winners Rio champions from Belgium, Australia, and Argentina is one of six teams in Pool A, led by world champion Germany.
The international hockey organization (FIH) announced the groups for the Olympic qualifiers last week, and the Indian men’s hockey squad was dealt a difficult draw for the Games in Paris on Monday.
Following a goal, the Indian men’s hockey team celebrates
In the six-team Pool B, the Harmanpreet Singh-led world No. 3 squad is paired with the defending Olympic champions Belgium, formidable Australia, Rio 2016 winners Argentina, world No. 10 New Zealand, and No. 11 Ireland.
World No. 1 Netherlands, defending champion Germany, Great Britain, Spain, the hosts France, and South Africa are all in Pool A. Each group’s top four players advance to the quarterfinals.
India was granted direct entrance by winning the gold medal at the Asian Games last year, thus they were spared the qualifying process.
The Indian women’s hockey team could not qualify for Paris after failing to place in the top three in the Ranchi qualifying round last week. Japan defeated them 0–1 in the third-place playoff match.
The Netherlands, the reigning champions, are in Pool A with Belgium, Germany, Japan, China, and France for the ladies. Australia, Argentina, Great Britain, Spain, the United States, and South Africa, ranked second in the world, are in Pool B.
Based on their global rankings, the teams have been assigned to their respective pools. The Stade Yves-du-Manoir will host the Paris hockey tournament.
France was defeated by India.
In a friendly game played in Cape Town on Monday, the Indian men’s hockey team defeated France 4-0 to begin their tour of South Africa. France were unable to defeat goalkeepers Krishan Pathak and PR Sreejesh, therefore India’s defense held firm. India’s impressive penalty corner (PC) assaults enabled them to score a barrage of goals.
Harmanpreet (number thirteen) scored India’s opening goal with a drag-flick. Using a PC, he increased the score in the 26th minute. Lalit Upadhyay, an Indian attacker, scored the third goal off a PC variation in the 42nd minute. The 49th minute saw vice captain Hardik Singh convert a field goal.
On Wednesday, India will play France one again.