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Road to Tokyo: Approaching the final step to qualify

In the past article we spoke about the new process to qualify to the Olympic Games, we got to speak a bit about how this process was going, and the results of the Pro League.

In the end, the teams that made it to the next step through the Pro League were Australia, Belgium, Great Britain and the Netherlands in men, and Argentina, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands in women. This teams already qualified to the FIH Olympic Qualifier, but they could end skipping this step in the next couple of months as the continental tournaments are approaching and the champions will get a direct ticket to Tokyo 2020 and so avoiding the FIH Olympic Qualifier.

This tournaments will be held on the 26th of July to the 11th of August in the case of America, the turn for the African tournament will be between the 12 and 18th of August, for Europe between the 16th and the 25th of August and finally Oceania´s turn between the 4th and 8th of September, leading also for the update of the latest World Ranking and ending the long wait for those teams that still don´t know their qualification and the country they would be encountering on the final step for those 14 countries trying to get in the 7 spaces to Tokyo 2020 through this last qualifier.

Through the Hockey Series Finals, there were some nations that totally surprised and others that were really close to classify to this last step, quite a few left 3rd or 4th on these tournaments are still with their hopes on their qualification through the ranking update.

On the ladies side, in Valencia, it was Canada which surprised the most while surpassing Italy and South Africa, both higher in ranking, achieving a second place in the tournament and qualification to the FIH Olympic Qualifier, although their result was not a surprise for the ones thatnow the journey they have been to the last few months, after the teams' demonstration of their will to be on this Olympic Games were after being left without fundings for their preparation to Tokyo, 21 ladies of the National team moved to Europe on last August to play for different clubs in Belgium and the Netherlands, quitting their normal lives and jobs in service of their Olympic dream which has not been conquered since 1992.

In Asia, another of the Hockey Series Finals was being held, were only India was qualified to the FIH Olympic Qualifier as Japan came second and is already qualified, and leaving the Chilean team heartbroken, but still with their hopes up, Chile surprised on the first stage of the tournament showing high performance even beating Japan 3-1, but that was not enough to qualify 1st which led them to encounter India in the crossover and so left them with small chances to make it to the final. Even though Chile raised their ranking and is now 15th and with plenty of chances to make it to the FIH Olympic Qualifier and even with their hopes on the Panamerican Games as they have had positive results against USA, and with the knowledge that Argentina has had some important changes on their squad, on this amazing chance to qualify to Tokyo for Chile and USA, the key moments management in the upcoming tournament will be crucial, and of course the results on the first phase of it were a good performance will lead to avoid difficult encounters in the cross overs, these will be fundamental for both teams.

Finally, in Ireland the locals and Korea where the ones to make it through the next stage, result that was expected by ranking.

On the men´s side in India the teams that where expected to classify where the ones that did so, India and South Africa, Japan came 3rd, but as we all know, they are already qualified, and USA although their ranking on the 24th position leaves them far apart from the other nations on this tournament, had a big chance in the crossover were only with the minimum goal difference South Africa was the team that managed the victory and so making it to the final.

In France was the turn for the Irish and French men, where also Korea gave a good fight and scared the locals, only two positions below them in ranking, the Koreans managed to draw against France and achieved same points in the first phase of the tournament leading to only a one goal difference in favor of France to get to the crossover in a better position than Korea avoiding the stronger nation from the other Pool.

At last in Malaysia, the locals where again the ones to qualify with Canada coming in 2nd place, leaving Austria dreaming also for their chance to qualify and depending on the ranking to be published in September.

Next you´ll see a more graphic explanation of the actual situation of the women and men squads from each nation, according to actual ranking (July 2019) and qualification to the FIH Olympic Qualifier.

In white you will find the Nations already qualified to the last stage, in yellow the nations that is estimated could win their continental encounters and get a flight straight to Tokyo. In blue the teams that by the time would be qualifying through the actual ranking and in red the nations not qualified yet and that could have chances to qualify through ranking. At last, in green the teams qualified already to the Olympic Games, that are in this case only Japan as hosts and continental champions.

*Scotland cannot qualify as they already are participating as part of Great Britain (England) **Ranking is only a reference as the qualification for the FIH Olympic Qualifier will be considered only through the last updated ranking, which will be published after the 9th of September 2019 when the Oceania Championship finishes.

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