Canadian field hockey set for uphill task at World League
Canadian men’s field hockey World League Semi-Final tournament will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina from June 3 to 14.
That’s where the team will need to cause a few upsets to secure a top-three place and the automatic Rio 2016 Olympic qualification spot that goes with it.
Canada is in a group with Germany, ranked third in the world, and no. 6, Argentina – the host nation. The other two teams in Canada’s Pool B are Spain (no. 11) and Austria (22). Canada is the 15th ranked nation in the men’s game.
A top four finish in round robin would give Canada a chance to play in the tournament quarterfinals, where they could face other top 10 nations from Pool A, such as Netherlands (2), New Zealand (7) and South Korea (8). The lower rated teams on that side of the draw are Japan (16) and Egypt (20).
Semifinals followed by either the final or a third-place game would be next should Canada advance that far. Top three teams earn an Olympic qualification spot, and also advance to the World League Final in India to be contested in late fall.
A week after the men begin their Argentina World League Semi-Final tourney, Canada’s field hockey women do the same, but in Valencia, Spain from June 10 to 21.
The world no. 20 Canadian women face an uphill task in Pool A versus London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and eighth-ranked Great Britain and powerhouse Argentina, ranked no. 3. Also in this very difficult group are China (7) and the host, Spain (15).
The other side of the Valencia draw features the United States (5), Germany (6), South Africa (11), Ireland (14) and Uruguay (29).
The same rules as the men’s competition applies to the women in terms of Olympic and World League Final qualification. There is another World League Semi-Final competition taking place in Antwerp, Belgium for both men and women featuring the remaining top global powers such as Australia and India. The top teams from the Antwerp side will face the qualified teams from Buenos Aires and Valencia respectively in the World League Final.
Regardless of what happens in World League, Canada can also advance to Rio by way of winning gold at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.