The 2014 FIH Champions Trophy being held in Bhubaneshwar, India is proving to be a runaway hit with the masses as it has produced an exceptional display of Hockey by the eight participating teams. The 35th edition of the tournament is being played under new rules by FIH which clearly have had a positive impact on the game as it has become fast-paced with more impetus on attacking hockey. This can be witnessed in the number of goals scored in the tournament in the group stages- 53 total, with an average of 4.42 per match. What makes this fact even more remarkable is that the duration of game has been reduced by 10 minutes!!
Its been a tournament of surprises, with higher ranked teams floundering in their way towards the quarters while the lower ranked ones proving their mettle. Their is virtually nothing between the teams barring Pakistan which has been thrashed in every encounter of their pool and none of the teams seems to be running with the trophy.
Here ESSENTIALLY SPORTS provides you a peek into the action of FIH Champions Trophy so far:
England has been the story of the tournament so far with its exceptional performances against higher ranked teams in the tournament to emerge as the pool topper unconquered. It set the tone of the tournament by outclassing the world champions in their very first clash before humbling the Pakistanis 8-2. Belgium has also been consistent in their performances having already played nerve-wrecking draws with Australia and England to get ready for the knockout stages. It was always going to be tough for the 5 time defending champions who are in a transition phase and have been rusty of late and it showed in the points table as they are placed in the third position ahead of a hapless Pakistan. For Pakistan it has been a forgettable tournament as they have lost everything they played for. what started with a close 1-2 defeat against Belgium, ended with a 3-0 thrashing by the Aussies after hitting rock bottom against England.
The no.2 team in the world, the Netherlands began their campaign with roaring victories over Germany and Argentina before the hosts halted the flying Dutchmen’s flight by defeating them 3-2 in the last encounter before the knockouts. Argentina have been knocking on the door in the previous tournaments and this time they finally had their way in with inspirational performances against India and Germany. The Argentines garnered the same points as the dutch with the latter finishing on top of the table due to superior goal difference. The world no. 3 Germany were never in the groove with a nervous win over India and then the subsequent defeats against the Dutch and Argentines mean that they have their task cut out before their quarterfinal encounter against supremely confident England. The ever consistent inconsistent Indians have had a roller coaster tournament so far. A heart wrenching last minute defeat to Germany followed by an uninspirational outing against Argentina before they got their act together and beat the table toppers 3-2 to finish third in the group and carry some confidence into the knockout stages.
Running Order for the quarterfinals starting on Thursday 11th December (local time – UTC/GMT +5.30)
- 11:30 Netherlands v Pakistan
- 13:45 Argentina v Australia
- 17:15 England v Germany
- 19:30 Belgium v India
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