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|October 29, 2001||
India meet Japan first in men's hockey World Cup
India will meet Japan in their opening match of the men's senior 2002 World Cup hockey tournament on February 24.
The 1975 champions are drawn in Pool B along with 1986 champions Australia, first-time qualifiers Cuba, hosts Malaysia, Japan, England, Poland and Sydney Olympic silver medallists South Korea for the February 24 to March 9 tournament at the National Hockey stadium, in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
The fixtures for next year's tournament were unveiled on Monday by His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah, World Cup organising committee chairman and president of the Malaysian Hockey Federation.
In the opening match of the tournament, Cuba take on Olympic silver medallists Korea. In the other five matches scheduled for the day, England line-up against Poland, the Pakistanis square up against South Africa, Utrecht '98 runners-up Spain meet Belgium, European champions Germany face off against the Argentines, and India play Japan in an all-Asian encounter.
The tournament, for the first time, has an enlarged field of 16 nations divided into two pools of eight teams. A total of 72 matches will be played over 13 days. The final is on March 9.
Under the 2 x 8 format, each team plays seven pool matches, followed by crossover classification play-offs before the final classification matches.
The top two teams in each pool qualify for the semi-finals while the 3rd and 4th fight for the 5th - 8th places, the 5th and 6th for the 9th - 12th places, and the last two teams battle for the 13th - 16th places.
India, eight-time Olympic champions and recent Junior World Cup winners, are ranked 14th behind seventh-ranked Cuba.
"Cuba are ranked higher than India because they are the South American champions while India finished fourth in the qualifiers in Scotland," International Hockey Federation communications manager Steven Morris said.
Sun, Feb 24
Mon, Feb 25
Tues, Feb 26
Wed, Feb 27
Thur, Feb 28
Fri, Mar 1
Sat, Mar 2
Sun, Mar 3
Mon, Mar 4
Tues, Mar 5
Wed, Mar 6 REST DAY
Thur, Mar 7
Fri, Mar 8
Sat, Mar 9
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