The Federation of International Hockey today announced the match schedule for the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2012 to be played in Melbourne, Australia from December 1-9.
Home town favourites Australia will kick off their Hockey Champions Trophy defense by taking on 2011 Champions Challenge winners Belgium in the opening Pool B round match on 1st December at Melbourne’s State Netball Hockey Centre.
“Victoria is the home of major sporting events in Australia and visitors to the Champions Trophy will have a tremendous opportunity to experience our excellent restaurants, shopping and night-life as well as visiting some of our world renowned natural attractions”. Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Hugh Delahunty, MP said today.
“This will be the first time that the teams will compete against each other since the London Olympics. With the gold, silver and bronze medal teams in action in Melbourne, the quality of competition is going to be extremely high. We are pleased to be hosting all eight teams and are pleased that our traditional sporting rival, England has recently been confirmed as a participant in this year’s Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy,” said Hockey Australia Chief Executive, Mark Anderson.
The Kookaburras are looking to create history on home soil by winning a record five straight Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy’s. Along with Belgium, Australia will be joined by the Netherlands and Pakistan in Pool B.
Split into two preliminary round groups of four, Group A will feature London gold medalists Germany, England, New Zealand and India.
“The Victorian Government is proud to be supporting the prestigious Champions Trophy tournament in Melbourne in December and we are very much looking forward to seeing the Australian Kookaburras as they take on teams from New Zealand, Pakistan, India, England, Belgium, Netherlands and the current number one ranked Germany.” said Minister Delahunty.
This year’s tournament will be the first time that the cross-over quarterfinal format is used at a Men’s Champions Trophy.
“We have an extremely competitive collection of teams and an exciting quarterfinal format. When you add to the mix that we will be in a great hockey country watching the top men’s team from the last cycle looking to defend its title, we are in for a great nine days.” said FIH President Leandro Negre.
The top five finishers from the 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy earned automatic places in this year’s event. Unfortunately, Spain ceded its place for the Melbourne event due to financial constraints in the hard hit European nation. England was therefore invited to take the place of Spain as the next highest-ranked team not automatically qualified.
The final three places were reserved for the winner of the 2011 Champions Challenge 1, Belgium, and two invitation places assigned by the FIH Executive Board. Following meetings during the London Olympic Games those two spots were awarded to Pakistan and India.
The preliminary round group play will take place from December 1-4 over three competition days. Germany and New Zealand kick off the action on 1st December.
Following the round matches, teams will move into a cross over quarterfinal with the top finishing teams meeting the lowest teams in the opposite pool and the second and third place finishers also face off in the knock out quarterfinal. From there the winners move onto semi-finals and medal games, while the losers will play for placement.
With the introduction of the FIH World League, Melbourne will mark the last annual edition of the tournament, converting to a biennial event from 2014.
Hockey Australia / England Hockey