Australia, Belgium and Great Britain all qualified to the Olympics from their performance at the second semi-final event for the 2014-15 Men’s Field Hockey World League. The event doubled as an Olympic qualifier for teams which have not qualified from their continental championships. The top 3 from this event qualifies to the Olympics. The second semi-final event was a 10 team tournament held in Antwerp, Belgium from June 20th to July 5th 2015.
The group stage went as expected though the most interesting result was the Great Britain vs. Ireland match. While Great Britain went up 2-0 in the first 10 minutes Ireland was able to calm their nerves and eventually score two goals themselves tying the match. While the match didn’t help Ireland’s placement within the group it did cost Great Britain the group title as Belgium won.
The quarterfinals also went as expected as Australia, Great Britain, India and Belgium all won over Ireland, Pakistan, Malaysia and France respectively. Since India are the Asian champions that meant the other three semi-finalists all qualified to the Olympics.
The semifinals also went as expected as favourites Australia and Belgium won over Great Britain and India 3-1 and 4-0 respectively. The most notable match was Ireland vs. Pakistan where an Alan Sothern goal gave Ireland a 1-0 win and a place in the fifth place match. The significance of this result is that Pakistan for the first time will not participate in field hockey as they compete at the Olympics.
The final showed a display of defensive tactics between Australia and Belgium. The match looked to be headed for penalty shoot-outs when Australia’s Chris Ciriello scored from a penalty corner as time was about to expire. The third place match was won by Great Britain as they defeated India by a score of 5-1.
As there are several continental championships remaining and since they take priority over the World League results all is not over for the teams that finished fourth, fifth or even sixth, though a lot of things must go their way. Between the two semi-final events the next three nations that could benefit from reallocation are the Canada, Spain and Ireland.
- Great Britain
FIH. 2014-15 World League Semi-final (Belgium) Results. Access on July 5 2015.