The Hockey World League (HWL) Final began at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurating the tournament, where the best eight teams in the world will battle for supremacy.
A laser light show with the 'Chak De India' song and crackers in the sky increased the temperature in the winter evening as the jam-packed spectators applauded amid loud yells.
With Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and hosts India -- nations all placed inside the top 10 of the FIH rankings -- the competition is guaranteed to be fiercely contested.
In addition to being crowned HWL champions, the winners of the event in Bhubaneswar will also be guaranteed qualification for the Men's Champions Trophy 2018, which will take place in the Netherlands in June/July.
FIH ranking points are also on offer, assigned to teams depending on their final position in the standings.
A good performance could therefore prove crucial in terms of qualification for future FIH events. With so much at stake, competition will be intense as teams battle to become the world's best at the Odisha HWL.
In the inaugural match, Germany defeated England 2-0 to start their campaign in a dominating fashion here on Friday. Germany scored through Mats Grambusch (19) and Christopher Ruhr (25).
In the second match, India face defending champion Australia.
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