India go into the final Pool D match against Wales at the FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup having secured their place in the crossovers at the very least but still in the hunt for a direct quarter-final spot.
The hosts began the tournament with a clinical 2-0 win over Spain before playing a thrilling 0-0 draw with England. Ahead of matchday three, England top Pool D ahead of India via goal difference.
As things stand, India need to beat Wales handsomely and hope England do not win against Spain to top Pool D.
Graham Reid’s team will play their final match at 7 pm IST at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar after England have played Spain and will therefore know their task at hand. India are assured a place in the knockouts.
UPDATE: With England beating Spain 4-0 in their match, India need to beat Wales 8-0 to top Pool D on goal difference. India can also beat England to the top spot with a 7-0 win provided they score at least six field goals. In this scenario, India and England will have the same goal difference of 9 but India will top the pool having scored one field goal more than England.
Pool D as it stands
The top team from each pool will directly qualify for the quarterfinals while teams placed second and third will enter a crossover phase to play across groups and four winners from that phase will complete the last eight.
Here’s what India need to do to make it directly through to the quarter-final:
If India lose or draw to Wales
In the unlikely scenario that India lose to Wales, they will not top Pool D. If England beat Spain, India will finish second. If Spain wins, India will finish third. If both matches end in a draw, India will finish second but if India lose and Spain vs England ends in a draw, goal difference will decide if India or Spain finish in second.
If India beat Wales
If India beat Wales and England fail to beat Spain, India will top Pool D without any further complications.
If both India and England win their matches, they will be level on points and matches won. Then goal difference will come into play. By virtue of playing after the Spain-England match, India will know by what margin they need to beat Wales to top the Pool.
Should the difference in the margin of wins for India and England be three goals, i.e. India win 4-0 and England win 1-0 and so on, both teams will have the same goal difference. Then the team which has scored the most-number of field goals tops the group, in this case that would be England. India’s best bet would be beat the goal difference outright and given England beat Wales 5-0, India would more than likely have to repeat or better that feat.
Here’s a look at the different scenarios for India’s knockout phase matches:
If India top Pool D
India will meet the winner of the crossover match between the second-placed team in Pool B and the third-placed team in Pool A. As things stand, those teams are Germany and France.
However, that could change if Germany pip Belgium to the top spot in Pool B if their winning margin in their final pool game is three goals more than Belgium’s winning margin. To illustrate this, if Belgium beat Japan 1-0 and Germany beat South Korea 4-0, Germany will top Pool B on goal difference with Belgium going into the crossover match.
If India finish second in Pool D
India will progress to the crossovers where they will face the third-placed team in Pool C, which could be either New Zealand or Malaysia. Should they win that match, they will face either Belgium or Germany in the quarter-finals depending on who tops Pool B.
If India finish third in Pool D
India will face either Malaysia or New Zealand on who finished second in Pool C. Their reward for winning that crossover, will be a quarter-final clash against Australia.
There are multiple tiebreak scenarios too and here’s how the tiebreaks will pan out as per the FIH documents:
a) If at the end of the pool matches two or more teams have the same number of points for any place in a pool, these teams will be ranked according to their respective number of matches won.
b) If there remains equality among two or more teams, then these teams will be ranked according to their respective goal difference (which means “goals for” less “goals against”). A positive goal difference always takes precedence over a negative one.
c) If there still remains equality among two or more teams, then these teams will be ranked according to their respective number of “goals for”’.
d) Should there still remain equality among two teams, then the result of the match played between those teams will determine the ranking of the tied teams.
There are more subpoints from (e) to (k), involving matches played within the teams, field goals scored and then even shootouts.