PESHAWAR: Pakistan will face Germany in their first match of the Field Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, today (Saturday).
The match will start at 6:30pm (PST). Four-time world champions Pakistan are currently going through a severe dip in form and confidence and are currently ranked 13th. Their build-up before the world event was not too good and they will start the match as underdogs.
On the other hand, Germany, currently ranked sixth, will be favorites to begin with. Pakistan once ruled the world hockey, but now the situation is dismal and they haven’t reached the World Cup since 1994.
Sixteen teams are participating in the World Cup that have been divided into four pools. Pakistan are placed in Pool-D along with Germany, Malaysia and Netherlands. Argentina, New Zealand France and Spain are placed in Pool-A; Australia, England, Ireland and China are placed in Pool-B and India South Africa, Belgium and Canada are placed in Pool-C.
The team finishing top of the pool will directly qualify for quarterfinals, while the teams finishing second and third will play the crossover matches for a place in the last eight, while the teams finishing last in their respective pool will be eliminated.
In the six matches held so far, Belgium defeated Canada 2-1, India defeated South Africa 5-0, Argentina defeated Spain 4-3, New Zealand defeated France 2-1, Australia defeated Ireland 2-1 and the match between England and China ended in 2-2 draw.