Indian eves pitted against Netherlands in Hockey World League semis
The Indian women’s hockey team have been pitted in a tough group in the upcoming first women’s FIH Hockey World League semifinals, which is slated to be held at Rotterdam, Netherlands from June 13-23.
Rotterdam, which is also simultaneously hosting the first men’s FIH Hockey World League semifinals, would see India take on the might of Olympic champions and six-time World Champions Netherlands (ranked world number one), world number three New Zealand and Korea who are ranked eighth in the world.
The 12th ranked Indian hockey eves would have their task cut out against these powerhouses, who would be joined by three other teams from the Round 2 competitions. Netherlands, New Zealand and Korea have secured a bye to the semifinals by virtue of being ranked in the top-8.
The Ritu Rani-led Indian women’s hockey team thumped Kazakhstan 8-0 in their opening match. They pulverized Fiji 10-0 in their second tie before accounting for Malaysia 3-0.
India eves lost 1-3 to Japan in penalty shootout after being locked 2-2 in regulation time. They edged out Russia by a solitary goal to wrap up their campaign on a decent note.
The second women’s FIH Hockey World League semifinals would be played at the University of Westminster’s Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground in Chiswick, London from June 22-30.
World champions and London Olympic silver medalists Argentina (ranked number two), Olympic bronze medallist and host England, twice World champions and world number six Australia and seventh ranked China earned a direct entry into the semifinals by virtue of being ranked in the top-8. They would be joined by four qualifiers from the Round 2 competitions.
It may be mentioned that the 11th ranked South Africa eves and 13th ranked Belgium became the first two teams to make it to the semifinals from the first women’s Round 2 tournament held in Cape Town.
India and ninth ranked Japan qualified from the second women’s Round 2 tournament held in New Delhi.
Italy and Spain made it to the semifinals from the third women’s Hockey World League Round 2 tournament held in Valencia, Spain, while the fourth and final women’s Hockey World League Round 2 tournament is currently being played at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
As for the men’s Hockey World League semifinals, Rotterdam is hosting the first semifinals from June 13-23. The second men’s Hockey World League semifinals will be played in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from June 29-July 7.
All the four semi-finals (men’s and women’s) will feature eight teams each.