LAHORE – Pakistan’s road to reach the podium of a major tournament reaches a fork, and a knife-edge, on Tuesday in their final group match against Australia.

In the new, every child wins a prize format for the eight-team men's hockey tournament, no teams are eliminated in the group stage and all make the quarter-finals. But the last day matches of the group stage will determine the quarter-final rivals from the crossover the pool and with Group B wide open, the last eight line-up is less than clear.

The Kookaburras, the Dutch and Pakistan can all finish top of the group and book the most advantageous draw against the bottom team in Pool A in the knockout stage.

But Pool A is not following the script. India are currently top of the group, and Olympic champions Germany could finish either second or third in the pool following their shock 4-1 loss to England on Sunday. They could prove horror quarter-final opponents should Pakistan slip up and not top their group. The new-look Pakistan outfit as shown determination so far and had played gallantly against the Netherlands. The forward line is creating a plenty of chances but to finish them in a goal still remains a concern.

Australia looked a bit rusty as shown by Sunday's 0-0 draw with the Netherlands and that may give Pakistan a chance to win the group. Victory against Australia will book Pakistan a top two spot, and perhaps even top of the group. In Pool A, Germany play India in the match likely to decide who tops that group, while England take on New Zealand.

High on confidence but ravaged by injuries, India are sitting pretty at the top of Pool A with six points, the only team to have won both their matches so far. But injuries to key players will be a headache for coach Michael Nobbs ahead of the crucial encounter. Midfielder Manpreet Singh and striker SV Sunil are on the injury list after Sunday's game against New Zealand and the team management may want to rest them ahead of the quarterfinal games.

 Today’s fixtures

New Zealand    vs    England

at 7:30 am

Belgium    vs    Netherlands

at 9:30 am

Germany    vs    India

At 11:30 am

Pakistan    vs    Australia

At 1:30 pm