Paris Olympics 2024: The Indian mens hockey team was handed a tough draw for the Paris Games on Monday, with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announcing the groupings after the Olympic qualifiers ended last week.Tough challange aheadThe Harmanpreet Singh-led world No. 3 side has been grouped with reigning Olympic champions Belgium, powerhouse Australia, Rio 2016 champions Argentina, world No. 10 New Zealand, and No. 11 Ireland in the six-team Pool B.Pool A has the world No. 1 Netherlands, reigning world champions Germany, Great Britain, Spain, hosts France, and South Africa. The top four from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals.India did not have to go through the qualifying route, having gained direct entry by winning the Asian Games gold last year.The Indian womens hockey team failed to make the cut for Paris after failing to finish among the top three in the qualifying event played in Ranchi last week. They lost 0-1 to Japan in the third-place playoff.Indias womens team failed to secure an Olympic quota.In women, the defending champions, the Netherlands, are in Pool A with Belgium, Germany, Japan, China, and France. World No. 2 Australia, Argentina, Great Britain, Spain, the United States, and South Africa are in Pool B.The teams have been allocated to their pools on the basis of their world rankings. The Paris hockey competition will be held at Stade Yves-du-Manoir.India beats FranceEarlier in Cape Town, the Indian mens hockey team kicked off their South Africa tour on Monday by beating France 4-0 in a friendly match. Indias defense remained resolute, as France were unable to beat goalkeepers PR Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak. India scored a flurry of goals, backed by excellent penalty corner attacks.Indian Mens Team kicked off the SA Tour with a BANG!A 4 - 0 win against France in the first friendly match of the tour.Full-time:India 🇮🇳 4 - France 🇫🇷 0Goal Scorers:13 26 Harmanpreet Singh42 Lalit Upadhyay49 Hardik Singh #IndiaKaGame #HockeyIndia #SATour… pic.twitter.com/yQ1POvb5RY— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) January 22, 2024Indias first goal came through Harmanpreets in the 13th minute by drag-flick. He added to the scoreline in the 26th minute via a penalty corner. Indias third goal, too, came off a penalty corner variation when forward Lalit Upadhyay converted in the 42nd minute. Vice-captain Hardik Singh then converted a field attempt in the 49th minute.