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PL2020: Its once again Kalinga for Indian hockey (11/21/2019)
--s2h team
India’s men’s team will play all their 2020 FIH Pro League home matches at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, as expected. The Kalinga stadium held the 2018 World Cup, the FIH Series Finals in June and the Olympic Qualifier against Russia earlier this month.

The World Cup drew capacity, passionate crowds to the venue and with healthy turnouts for the other events, the Kalinga Stadium was more or less an automatic choice for the Pro League matches.

India are not fielding a woman’s team for the event.

The FIH confirmed the venues and timings of the league matches on its website on Monday.


India, who missed the first edition last year, take on The Netherlands in their opener at home on January 18 and, as per the new stipulation, play the Dutch again the next day instead of travelling to take on their adversaries away.

Next year, however, the roles will be reversed with the Netherlands hosting India twice and the same pattern will hold for all other encounters.

The FIH explained the new format reduces by half the travel of the teams compared to the earlier one. The new scheme, it added, would thereby reduce costs for teams, benefitting athletes’ welfare and reducing the impact on the environment.

India’s campaign is equally divided between playing at home and travelling overseas.

India play host again, this time against World Cup champions Belgium on February 8 and 9 and entertain Australia on Feb 21 and 22.

They then start their overseas campaign with matches against Germany on April 25 and 26 at the Ernst Reuter Sportsfeld in Berlin, before setting off to play Great Britain on May 2 and 3 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.

Another away encounter awaits India in Argentina with matches on 5 and 6 June at the Club Natacion y Gimnasia, Tucumán.

New Zealand then visit India on May 23 and 24 before India wind up their campaign with matches against Spain on June 13 and 14 at the Estadio Betero in Valencia.

Unlike the inaugural edition, the league will be purely round-robin devoid of the Grand Final playoffs for the top finishers.

The nine-nation league will involve 144 matches for each gender. The league starts on January 11 and ends on June 28.

Australia won the first league beating Belgium 3-2 in the final. The Netherlands beat Great Britain 5-3 for bronze. The Netherlands won the women’s title beating Australia in a penalty shootout. Germany took bronze beating Argentina, also in the tie-breaker.

The Grand Final for either gender was held in Amstelveen, the Netherlands.

India’s fixtures (all times IST):

18 Jan: vs Netherlands, 1900.
19 Jan: vs Netherlands, 1700.
Feb 8 & 9 : vs Belgium, 1700.
Feb 21 & 22: vs Australia, 1900.
April 25: vs Germany, 2100.
April 26: vs Germany, 1900.
May 2 & 3: vs Great Britain, 1830.
May 23 & 24: vs New Zealand, 1900.
June 5 & 6: vs Argentina, 0130.
June 13 &14: vs Spain, 1630.

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