Outlining All Upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers

Oct. 23, 2019, 8:28 a.m. (ET)

BHUBANESWAR, India – October 23, 2019 – Dates were announced, match-ups confirmed and venues solidified as fourteen women’s teams will go head-to-head this weekend and next for a chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will consist of 12 teams on both the men’s and women’s sides, with Japan as the host nation and continental champions earning automatic bids. Since both of Japan’s men and women also placed first in the 2018 Asian Games, an additional FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifier was added to the overall quota, rather than the runner-up of the tournament.

On the women’s side, Argentina earned an automatic spot as gold medalists of the Pan American Games. The Netherlands won the Belfius EuroHockey Championships, New Zealand clinched the Oceania Cup and South Africa sealed the African Hockey Road to Tokyo 2020 event.

Below is the schedule and outline of each match-up for the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers. All matches in the United States will be live streamed on BR Live, with the except of the three matches highlighted below. Those will be available on fih.live.

Friday, October 25

3:00 AM          Australia vs. Russia#               Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth, AUS
4:00 AM          China vs. Belgium#                 Wujun Hockey Stadium, Changzhou, CHN
2:00 PM          Spain vs. Korea                       Estadio Betero, Valencia, ESP

Saturday, October 26

4:00 AM          China vs. Belgium#                 Wujun Hockey Stadium, Changzhou, CHN|
7:00 AM          Australia vs. Russia                 Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth AUS
2:00 PM          Spain vs. Korea                       Estadio Betero, Valencia, ESP

Friday, November 1

8:30 AM          India vs. USA                           Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, IND

Saturday, November 2

8:30 AM          India vs. USA                           Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, IND
9:00 AM          Great Britain vs. Chile             Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London, UK
10:00 AM        Germany vs. Italy                    Hockeypark, Mönchengladbach, GER
2:00 PM          Ireland vs. Canada                  Energia Park, Donnybrook, IRL

Sunday, November 3

7:00 AM          Great Britain vs. Chile             Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London, UK
8:30 AM          Germany vs. Italy                    Hockeypark, Mönchengladbach, GER
2:10 PM          Ireland vs. Canada                  Energia Park, Donnybrook, IRL

*All times in Eastern Time Zone
#These games will be available on fih.live.


This weekend:

No. 2 Australia vs. No. 19 Russia

The last time these two teams meet was 25 years ago at the 1994 Women’s World Cup in Dublin, Ireland, where Russia won 2-1.

“Russia is an unknown team to us; I’ve personally never played them before or ever seen them at a tournament. Initially, [we will do] a little bit of research to work out their game plans. They’ve had some mixed results in the last couple of months in the Euros [where they finished 7th], so we are confident going out against Russia but it is an unknown and something we have to be switched on for.” - Emily Chalker, Australia Captain

“Team Australia [always] participate in the Olympic Games, which is our objective. They have a very good, fast and strong game, and we are [preparing] for this.” – Bogdana Sadovaia, Russia Striker

No. 10 China vs. No. 12 Belgium

In their history, these two teams have met a total eight times with the first coming at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The overall record falls in favor of Belgium winning six, China with one and a draw between them. Their most recent meeting was a thrilling sudden victory shootout game in the 2019 FIH Pro League in May. China jumped out to an early lead scoring twice in the first three minutes. Belgium added one back in the 33rd but China added another to the goal margin seven minutes later. China held a 3-1 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Belgium came from behind to tally two, even the score and send it into a shootout. After the shootout regulation the teams were tied at 4-4, and in the sudden victory round, China missed, and Belgium converted for the win.

“Belgium is a strong opponent. In the [FIH] Pro League we played two games [against them], creating a lot of chances but we didn’t convert to win. So, in the [upcoming] month, we need to focus on making sure we score goals.” - Cui Qiuxia, China Captain

I think China is an opponent that suits us. When we play as a team and use the strengths in our team it will be a really good game [for us]. We know it will be complicated to travel to China but in the end that is just an outside factor that we have to leave at home, and on the day, we are just going to play the game and try to win it.” – Jill Boon, Belgium Striker

No. 7 Spain vs. No. 11 Korea

These two sides have met a total of 13 times, with the first coming at the 1990 Women’s World Cup in Sydney Australia. A close record between them, Korea has five wins, Spain with four and there are four ties. The most recent match-up came at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in pool play. The close game saw the scoring open in the second quarter through Korea. It took Spain until the third to produce and they tallied three within a 9-minute span. Korea added one back with five minutes remaining, but Spain came out on top 3-2.

 “We expect Korea to give us a really physical game. They run a lot and they close the spaces really fast and when they get the ball, they can counterattack. It’s really aggressive but the Spanish team will first of all work to prevent the counterattack. After that, we have been working to improve our possession, so we recognize the spaces and we move the ball really well. I think we will have a lot of circle penetrations.” - Georgina Olivia, Spain Captain


Next weekend:

No. 9 India vs. No. 13 USA

USA has met India five times in the past three years, mostly in major international competitions. The teams faced one another three times in 2016, with the first two coming during the Citi Rio Send-Off Series in Lancaster, Pa. The competitive two-game series saw USA defeat India 3-2 in the opener but saw many scoring opportunities go unanswered as they fell in the second match 1-2. This prepared the red, white and blue who met India two weeks later in their fourth pool game at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. USA was coming off the helm of winning their first three games over higher ranked opponents and continued the momentum for a 3-0 victory.

After that they went head-to-head in their second pool game of the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 10, 2017. USA opened the scoring in the second quarter and although India found the equalizer in the third, a strong collective second half scoring performance lifted USA over India, 4-1.

The most recent came on July 29, 2018 at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup LondonAfter scoring first, USA was put under a lot of pressure until India found the equalizer one minute into the third quarter to bring the game to a 1-1 draw. This finish ultimately concluded USA’s World Cup campaign.

“When the draw came, we knew that [we would have to play] one of four teams. Everyone is excited that, firstly, we are playing in front of the home crowd, and secondly, we are playing against the US. The US are a good team, and we will try for every second and every ball to be in the Olympics. We know it will not be easy and USA will also fight for every second. We are looking forward to playing in front of our crowd, and that may be an advantage for the Indian team.” – Rani, India Captain

 “India is a great opponent and we have a lot of respect for them. We played them last summer [in the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup 2018], and it was a draw and we know it will be a tough game against them this autumn. But we are just focusing on ourselves and if we prepare ourselves in every way possible then that will give us the best chance of winning.” – Kathleen Sharkey, USA Captain

No. 5 Great Britain vs. No. 18 Chile

Great Britain and Chile have met only once in a friendly match.

“We are looking forward to the qualifiers. We are pleased to now know who we are playing. Chile are not a team we necessarily know that well, but we have to respect them. They are going to come here very ready. They will be looking at it as, you know, two games and they are on a plane to Tokyo, so they have got a lot to play for. But at the same time, I think if we just attack this period with everything we have, and we make these learning progressions day in, day out, the result will take care of itself and that is what we hope for.” – Maddie Hinch, Great Britain Goalkeeper

Great Britain is a very tough team. We have played only once against them, that was a friendly match. And of course, they are the Olympic champions so it is going to be a really good game and a tough game for us, but we will play our way and take it step by step.” – Camila Caram, Chile Captain

No. 4 Germany vs. No. 17 Italy

The first meeting between Germany and Italy came in 2003 at the Women’s Championship Challenge in Catania, Italy, in which Germany won 5-0. They have played another five times since with Germany winning all but one of those match-ups. That Italy win came in 2018 in a two-game test series where the outcomes were split with the scores of 2-0 for Germany and 1-0 for Italy.

The fans can expect two really nice matches and hopefully we will be the winner in the end. But Italy is a tough opponent and they will be aggressive. They have the one chance to go to the Olympics Games, like us, so I think it will be close. You should come and watch the games.” – Selin Oruz, Germany Defender

It’s a tough team, a really good team. They are playing really well, and I think that they have made a huge step [forward] since the last World Cup in London, which is why it won’t be easy for us to beat them, especially in their ‘home’. Still, we have a great chance to reach the Olympics, it’s the same chance for both teams.” – Chiara Tiddi, Italy Captain

No. 8 Ireland vs. No. 15 Canada

Ireland and Canada have met a total twelve times in their history. Ireland leads the overall series with seven wins, Canada has three and there are two ties between them. The draws are the most recent events, both coming in 2018 at different tournaments. Part of a two-game series, Canada claimed the first win but the second finished in a 1-1 tie. Next at the 3 Nations Invitational Tournament in Düsseldorf, Germany, the game finished with the same tied result.

We know Canada is a good team, we have a huge amount of respect for them. They are fighting for their first Olympics (since 1992), like us and we will be prepared tomatch them.” – Kate Mullan, Ireland Captain

Ireland is an extremely competitive side and one that we really respect. They have achieved some amazing results recently, including a second place finish at the World Cup last year. We have had the opportunity to travel to Dublin a handful of times and know how supportive their home crowd can be. We are hoping that our friends and family from Canada will be able to make the trip to cheer us on.” – Kate Wright, Canada Captain

For more information about the FIH Olympic Qualifier, visit the official event page by clicking here.