Men's Champions Trophy draw

Iain Mackay in action for England against New Zealand

The FIH announced today the match schedule for the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2012 to be played in Melbourne, Australia from December 1-9.

England's men will take on Olympic champions Germany, New Zealand and India in Group A while Group B will see hosts Australia feature alongside Olympic silver medallists the Netherlands, Belgium and Pakistan.

England's opening match will be against India on December 1, before facing Germany on day two and New Zealand in their third and final pool fixture.
It will be the 34th edition of the event and one that will see the host nation, Australia, look to defend its 2011 Champions Trophy title. It will also be the first time that the cross-over quarterfinal format is used at a men’s Champions Trophy. The format has been used in previous FIH events, but never at the annual top men’s tournament. This is now the FIH’s preferred Competition Format for all of its global eight-team events.
“We have an extremely competitive collection of teams and an exciting quarterfinal format,” said FIH President Leandro Negre. “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.”
“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 top five finishers from the 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy earned automatic places in this year’s edition along with the winner of the previous Champions Challenge 1. 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 winners of the 2011 Champions Challenge 1, Belgium, and there were two invitation places for the FIH Executive Board to assign. The Executive Board announced following its meetings during the Olympic Games, that those two spots would be filled by Pakistan 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."  Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Hugh Delahunty, MP said today.  "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" Minister Delahunty said.
The preliminary round group play will take place from December 1-4 over three competition days. Germany and New Zealand kick off the action with a 10:30 game on December 1. Host Australia’s first opponent will be Belgium on the same day. Following the Round Robin, the teams will move into a cross over quarterfinal with the top finishing teams meeting the lowest teams in the opposite pool and the #2 and #3 finishers also facing off in the knock out quarterfinal. From there, the winners move onto semi-finals and medal games, while the losers will play for placement.

England's fixtures for Champions Trophy, Melbourne

Saturday 1 December - 12:30pm (local time) - England v India
Sunday 2 December - 10:30am (local time) - England v Germany
Tuesday 4 December - 3:30pm (local time) - England v New Zealand
Thursday 6 December - tbc - quarter final
Saturday 8 December - tbc - Either 5th-8th classification OR semi final
Sunday 9 December - tbc - Either classification OR medal match

SOURCE: Adapted from FIH press release

Visit the Hockey Australia Champions Trophy web page here
Visit the official FIH Champions Trophy web page here