One Month Out, USMNT Sets Sights on FIH Series Finals

May 06, 2019, 12:57 p.m. (ET)

BHUBANESWAR, India – May 6, 2019 – In one month, the U.S. Men’s National Team is set to begin their first major competition of 2019 in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals in Bhubaneswar, India. Serving as one possible way of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, USA has been hard at work the past several months preparing as one of eight teams in competition. Per the FIH, all games will be streamed on FIH.Live

As the final stage of the 2018-19 FIH Series, the Finals consists of at least five qualified teams from the FIH Series Open (previously named the Hockey Series Open). The top two teams from each FIH Series Finals will secure a place in the Qualification Events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which will be held in October and November 2019.

The FIH Series Finals consists of three separate tournaments and locations, each one consisting of eight teams playing in them, with berths into the Olympic qualifiers up for grabs.

USA found their way to Bhubaneswar, India after claiming first place in the Hockey Series Open in Salamanca, Mexico last June. With a tournament record of 3-1-0, USA tied with Mexico atop the standings heading in to their final match. After posting a 22-0 win over Panama, USA, who was ranked No. 26 at the time, finished ahead of Mexico with a higher goal differential.

Beginning on May 15, the team will meet in The Netherlands at the Hockey Club Hilversum for final preparations before departing for India. They will play practice matches against Ireland on May 24 and 26.

Who competed in the FIH Series Open and how did nations qualify for the FIH Series Finals?

All nations affiliated to FIH that were not playing in the FIH Pro League were eligible to enter the FIH Series Open, which took place between June and December 2018.

The nine highest placed nations in the FIH World Ranking (as of June 9, 2017) that were not playing in the FIH Pro League were exempt from the FIH Series Open and qualified directly for the FIH Series Finals. Each FIH Series Finals will include at least five qualified teams from the FIH Series Open but contain no more than three of the teams that qualified directly for the Finals based on World Ranking.

How do teams qualify for the Olympic Games?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved Qualification System for the men’s and women’s field hockey competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is as follows:

  • The Host Nation – Japan
  • The five (5) Continental Champions*
  • Six (6) teams from the Olympic qualifiers

* As Japan Men and Women won the Asian Games yet had already qualified as hosts, seven nations will qualify for each of the Men’s and Women’s hockey events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games through the Olympic qualifiers

Who will play in the Olympic qualifiers?

  • The top two nations in each of the FIH Series Finals**
  • They will be joined by the top four nations from the FIH Pro League
  • The remaining spots will go to the best ranked nations in the FIH World Rankings (as at the end of the 2018/2019 round of Continental Championships) not having qualified through either of the above events or as Continental Champions

The seven Olympic qualifiers will each feature two nations playing two back-to-back matches, with nations drawn to play each other based on their rankings at the end of the 2018/2019 Continental Championships.

The nation with the highest aggregate score over the two matches will qualify for the Olympic Games. If at the end of the two matches both teams have same aggregate score, the winner will be decided by a shootout competition held immediately after the second match.

The Olympic qualifiers are scheduled for October and November 2019 and the matches will be hosted by the higher ranked of the two competing nations.

**if Japan, Scotland or Wales finish in the top two (2) of their respective pools, they will not secure a place in the Olympic qualifiers. Japan have already qualified as both host and winners of the Asian Games; for Scotland and Wales, the reason is that England are the nominated country for Great Britain’s qualification pathway. If any of these three teams do finish in the top two (2), the team that finishes third does NOT automatically qualify for the Olympic qualifiers. Any such additional place is determined by the FIH World Rankings as at the completion of the continental championships (8 September 2019)

For more information regarding the FIH Series Finals including the full schedule, rosters, results and more, check out the official event page by clicking here. #FIHSeriesFinals #RoadToTokyo