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Hockey: India, Pakistan in different groups for London Olympics

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - 9:06am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The traditional rivals have been drawn in opposite pools for the July 27 to August 12 Olympic Games.

Those drooling over the prospect of India and Pakistan squaring off at the London Games are in for some disappointment. The traditional rivals have been drawn in opposite pools for the July 27 to August 12 Olympic Games.

The Michael Nobbs-coached side finds itself in the same group as 2008 Olympic champions Germany and former winners the Netherlands. South Korea, Belgium and New Zealand complete what seems to be a rather tricky Pool B. The draw means that India have a realistic chance to meet their target of finishing in the top six — which can be a giant leap for them compared to their performances in the last two decades. Pool A consists of Australia, Great Britain, Pakistan, Spain, Argentina and a qualifier.

Nobbs was pleased with India’s draw but sounded cautious. “I have always said no team is easy to play against in the Olympics. While it is a given that Germany and Netherlands are the teams to beat in our group, we cannot discount sides like New Zealand, Belgium and of course, South Korea,” he told DNA.

“Belgium have improved a lot over the last few years and we saw that in South Africa (India lost to them in the final of the Champions Challenge). So it won’t be easy at London.”
Knowing the teams almost four months in advance, though, has given Nobbs a proper guideline to prepare for the Games.

The Australian, though, feels India’s level of preparedness will be clear in the first week of May. India will be playing a test event in London from May 2 to 6 with Australia, Germany and Great Britain being other teams. “The four-nation tournament we play there will be a reality check for us. That’ll prove where we stand in terms of competing with our rivals,” he said.


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