Two more men’s team booked their tickets to the Olympics by winning their respective series at the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. In total, fourteen men’s and fourteen women’s teams will face off against each other to determine the final seven nations to qualify to the Olympics. The higher ranked nation hosted their opponent for two matches where the team with the best aggregate score qualifying to the Olympics. The first matches began on October 25th while the final match will end on November 3rd 2019.
The host cities for the two series were Amstelveen, Netherlands and West Vancouver, Canada where the hosts played Pakistan and Ireland respectively.
The first set of matches saw Pakistan almost pull off a huge upset, but a final minute goal by Mink van der Weerden allowed the Netherlands to draw the match 4-4. In the other match, Ireland and Canada traded leads, but in the end, it was Ireland which picked up the minor seeding upset by winning the first match 5-3.
The Netherlands performed a lot better on the second match where they scored six goals before Pakistan answered back with a single goal, allowing the Netherlands to qualify with a 10-5 aggregate. A last second and potentially questionable penalty shot goal by Scott Tupper allowed Canada to win the second match 3-1, bridging the aggregate gap to 6-6. While Ireland had its chances during the ensuing penalty shoot-out, it went to sudden death where Canada completed its comeback to win 5-4 in the shoot-out to qualify to the Olympics.
Both Canada and the Netherlands return to the Olympic with the latter hoping to win their tenth Olympic medal. The Olympic Qualifiers continue next weekend where the final eight teams will be decided.