Hockey World Cup: How Savita Punia's India can reach the quarters

The Indian women's hockey team celebrates after defeating Netherlands in the FIH Pro League. Hockey India

After two 1-1 draws in their opening two matches of the World Cup, the India women's hockey team face a crucial game against a tough New Zealand side on Thursday (11 PM IST) with an aim to avoid a last-place finish in Pool B.

Teams need to top their Pools to directly qualify for the quarterfinals, while the second and third-placed teams have to play crossover matches to qualify for the last-eight stage.

Here are the scenarios for Pool B:

As it stands, all four teams have the chance to qualify for the quarters or play the crossover matches. New Zealand currently leads the group after two matches with four points. They drew their opening match against China and followed it up with a win against England.

China and India have two points each with a similar goal difference (0) but China are ahead in terms of goal scored, while England are fourth with a point to their name.

In India's case, the equation will be clearer once the England vs China match is over because they play first on Thursday (8 PM IST). India can directly qualify for the quarterfinals if England beat China and Savita Punia's team does the same to New Zealand. If England wins, they'll go to four points (and guarantee a crossover match) and India's victory over New Zealand will take them to five.

For New Zealand though, a draw against India will be enough to top the group.

If China manage to beat England, then India will be guaranteed a crossover match irrespective of their result against New Zealand. A loss for England against China will end their chances of making it to the quarters.

What happens if teams are on the same points in the Pool?

If two or more teams have the same number of points after all their group matches, the rankings will depend on the number of matches won by each team.

If the number of matches won is also similar, then teams will be ranked according to their respective goal difference. If the goal difference is also similar, then teams will be ranked according to their goals scored/goals for.

If the goals scored is also similar, then teams will be ranked according to the head-to-head result. If the head-to-head result is also the same, then teams will be ranked according to the field goals they scored in the matches. If all the above criteria fail, then the ranking will be determined by a shootout competition between those teams.

There are separate regulations in case rankings have to be decided on shootouts.