The Men's Hockey World Cup returns to India, and to Bhubaneswar, this is the first World Cup with expanded number of teams to 16, which is sure to make it interesting. This week lets take a look at Pool A which features-
- New Zealand
Pool A you could argue is perhaps the Pool of death at this years Mens Hockey World Cup because in theory any team could actually win through the group to the two spots in the knock-out phase of the tournament. Every single game in this Pool will be tough, and I dont think any of the teams can lock in a win against any of the other teams in the Pool. Lets have a closer look at the teams-
- Argentina are perhaps the marginal favourtie in this group, as the current Olympic Champions, and bronze medalists from the last World Cup, and should if everything goes according to plan top the group. They key will be making sure they get wins against France and New Zealand, which will place less pressure on the result from the Spain game. However if they trip up it will very quickly open things up.
- Spain should finish on paper second in this group, but you never know, they are not the Spain of the past and that is what makes this Pool as open as it is. Assuming they beat and or Draw with France and New Zealand then they should progress. After that its hard to see how they make it beyond the Quater Finals but you never know.
- New Zealand are hard to work out at times, they have been good but have also been bad, its a long time since that magical day in 1976 when they beat Australia to win Olympic gold in Montreal. This side is no where near the 76 squad so hard to see them recapturing that special moment. In saying that if they beat France, and make sure they beat Spain then there every chance to finish second in the group. However its hard to see them going deep into the tournament after that.
- France are the unknown factor here in this group, they are the improving factor, for France its been 28 years since they played in a World Cup and they wont want to dissappoint their fan base. If the group goes according to plan then they wont make it out of the group, but it is my view that France are the team that will upset this group and I actually think they could well emerge as the second qualifier, because they can beat New Zealand and they can beat Spain. If they do that, its hard to see them going far in the knock-out phase but if momentum gets behind France who knows.
So looking at Pool A this is what I believe the final placing will look like-
4th- New Zealand
Next week we will look closely at Pool B which has the might of Australia in it.