Hosts India would look to seal a direct quarterfinal berth with a win against Canada in their final Pool C match of the men’s hockey World Cup on Saturday. World number 5 India are currently leading Pool C with four points from two games ahead of Olympic silver medallist Belgium (4 points) on account of a better goal difference. The Indians have a goal difference of + 5 as against Belgium’s +1.
Both Canada and South Africa have one point each from two matches but the North Americans are placed third with a goal difference of -1 as against South Africa’s -5. India thrashed South Africa 5-0 and drew 2-2 against Belgium in their earlier matches, while Canada lost 1-2 against the Red Lions before eking out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against the Africans.
While India are placed at an advantageous position at present, the pool is still wide open. The hosts would not want to leave anything on chance and they would seek a comprehensive win on Saturday to cement their place atop the pool and directly qualify for the last eight round.
The second and third-placed teams from the pool will play cross-over matches against number 2 and 3 teams of other pools to decide the remaining last four quarterfinal places. Going by records and form, India are hands down favorites to come out victorious against Canada.