The first set of winners of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers were decided today with one men’s team and three women’s team completing their two-series match. 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 men’s series was held in Valencia, Spain where the host played France while for the women’s series it was held in Perth, Australia, Changzhou, China and Valencia, Spain where the hosts played Russia, Belgium and South Korea respectively.
The first matches saw Australia score two quick goals against Russia on route to winning 4-2 while Belgium upset hosts China 2-0. In the two matches in Spain the men needed two goals by Pau Quernada to draw France 3-3 while the women came back from a goal down to defeat South Korea 2-1.
For the second set of matches, China scored two late goals to salvage their Olympic bid to win the match 2-0, setting up a penalty shoot-out against Belgium. The shoot-out needed to go to sudden death as the two teams were leveled 1-1 after five shots. On the sixth shot Li Jiaqi scored while Alix Gerniers failed which sent China to the Olympics. Conversely, Australia comfortably qualified to the Olympics as they defeated Russia 5-0 to win 9-2 on aggregate. Spain made it a double victory as the men defeated France 3-2 and the women defeated South Korea 2-0 to win 6-5 and 4-1 on aggregate respectively.
Overall, no seeding upsets occurred for the first set of qualifiers. The Olympic Qualifiers continue tomorrow where two men’s quotas will be decided.