The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will take on New Zealand in their opening match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on 25 July 2020 while the Indian Women’s Team will play against Rio Olympics Silver Medallists Netherlands on 25th July 2020. The draw for the prestigious quadrennial extravaganza was announced today in Tokyo, Japan.
Speaking about the draw, Indian Men’s Hockey Team Skipper Manpreet Singh said: “A good start will always give the right confidence and momentum to carry on in the tournament so it will be important for us to begin with a win. New Zealand have always posed stiff competition for us and I believe it can be a close game,” stated Manpreet further adding that the team will need to keep a check on their nerves. “It is important to keep our nerves in check as opening matches can be a bit overwhelming especially at a major event like the Olympics,” Manpreet added.
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team who have been clubbed with defending Olympic Champions Argentina, World No.1 Australia, Spain, New Zealand and Japan in Pool A will play their second match against the formidable Australian side on 26 July 2020 and play Spain in their third pool A match on 28 July 2020. After a day’s break on 29 July 2020, India will take on Argentina on 30 July 2020 and then play hosts Japan on 31 July 2020.
The Men’s Quarter Finals have been slated for 2 August 2020 while Semi Finals will be held on 4 August 2020 and the Gold Medal and Bronze Medal match will be played on 6 August 2020. “Every game will be crucial at the Olympics and we cannot let our guard down against any team even if they are ranked below us. The competition will be so high that each match will need to be played like it’s the final,” Manpreet said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Women’s Team Skipper Rani said: “Draw does not matter because in the Olympics every team is equal and every team will come to the Olympics with an aim win. As a team, we need to focus on ourselves and what we can do better on the given day. We are preparing well to ensure we tick all the boxes in each of our match and put all the energy into every game we play and give our best to the blue shirt if we want to see ourselves in the quarter finals and semi finals.”
Indian Women’s Team are grouped in Pool A along with Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa. The Indian Women’s Team who will be making their second consecutive Olympic appearance will take on Germany in their second Pool A match on 27th July followed by the match against defending Champions Great Britain on 29th July 2020. India will play Ireland on 31 July 2020 and take on South Africa in their last Pool A match on 1 August 2020.
The Quarter Finals for the Women’s Hockey will be held on 3 August 2020 while the Semi Final will be held on 5 August 2020 and the Gold Medal and Bronze Medal match will be held on 7 August 2020.