India (FIH ranking 5)
The Manpreet Singh-led squad is high on confidence, especially after being declared as joint winners of the Asian Champions Trophy with Pakistan held in Oman. The inability to finish matches has always been India's bane.
Coach Harendra Singh who replaced Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne has been a positive influence on the squad so far. Manpreet is a solid presence in the midfield while the onus will be on senior players like goalkeeper and former captain PR Sreejesh, defender Birender Lakra and forward Akashdeep Singh to deliver the goods.
Belgium (FIH rank 3)
The Olympic and European silver medallists pose the toughest challenge for India in the group. With only the group winner earning a direct entry into the quarterfinals, the India vs Belgium match will be very crucial.
Belgium will heavily rely on Arthur Van Doren , who bagged the FIH Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards. Belgium have experience and talent and that should hold them in stead.
Belgium had defeated India when the two sides met last time in a crunch knockout fixture - the 2016 Rio Olympics quarterfinals - and the Red Lions will be keen to continue their domination.
Canada (FIH ranking 11)
They may be ranked much below India and Belgium, but you just cannot write off Canada. The fact that they qualified for the World Cup after beating India and finishing ahead of them at the Hockey World League Round 3 in London, 2017 prove that they are no pushovers.
Topping the table may not be possible for the Canadians, but a play-off spot is well within their reach and they are capable of upsets on their day.
South Africa (FIH ranking 15)
They may be the underdogs of the group, but they have always delivered when it mattered the most.
The team has often punched above its weight in important tournaments and the World Cup may be the right occasion to do it once again.
South Africa has also a few brownie points to settle after the national olympic association barred it from competing at the Rio Games despite making the qualifying cut.