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FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 Ranchi: Teams that are favourites to qualify for Paris Olympics

Published at :January 14, 2024 at 1:12 AM
Modified at :January 24, 2024 at 8:22 PM
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The top three sides attain direct qualification for Paris Olympics.

The Women’s FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 is scheduled to be held in Ranchi, Jharkhand from January 13th-19th. A total of eight teams who have not secured quotas till date are set to participate in the tournament. From the bunch of eight teams, the top three automatically qualify for Paris Olympics 2024 with the rest making an exit.

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist, Germany are the top ranked side in the tournament followed by India at sixth and New Zealand at the ninth spot in the latest FIH world rankings. The teams are separated amongst two groups with the top two teams at the end of round robin stage progressing for the knockouts. The top three teams from the knockouts make it to the Summer Games.

In this article, let us look at the teams that have high chances of qualification for Paris Olympics 2024 from the Women’s FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 in Ranchi:

Teams favourites to qualify for Paris Olympics from Women’s FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 Ranchi

Germany

Germany will be one of the top contenders to secure the Olympic spot and subsequently win the tournament. They are placed in Group A alongside Japan, Chile and Czech Republic. All the other teams apart from the European giants are ranked outside the top 10 in FIH rankings and are relatively less experienced.

If we go by the recent form, the Germany women’s team are on a three-match winning run, beating South Africa twice and England once. Prior to this, they lost to Belgium by a close margin (0-1) in the semifinals of European Championships thereby settling for the third spot.

By the virtue of winning the tournament, Netherlands gained an automatic entry for Paris Olympics while the teams finishing till the sixth place alongside Italy progressed for the Qualifiers. Sonja Zimmermann who currently represents Mannheimer HC will play a major role in the defence. Apart from donning the defensive setup she will also take up charge as a penalty corner specialist.

She scored five goals in the European Championships and finished the tournament as the second joint-most goal scorer.

India

Indian women’s hockey team will have a massive advantage as they will be playing in front of their home fans. The recent Asian Champions Trophy showcased the country’s love for the sport and with this tournament holding greater significance, the crowd will always be behind India to secure a quota and go a step further to clinch the tournament as well.

The Blue Colts lost a good opportunity to qualify for Paris Olympics at the Asian Games as they went down to Japan in the semifinals. But, the team bounced back strongly to regain form and defeated Japan inside a month to lift the Asian Champions Trophy.

With the exit of Vandana Katariya due to injury, India’s forward has found a new dent. She has represented the national side on over 300 occasions and her experience would have been a huge asset, however the team has good youngsters in the rank to fill up the role.

All eyes will be in Gurjit Kaur the penalty corner specialist. The penalty corner specialists attended a five-day camp conducted by former Indian international Rupinder Pal Singh. His expertise should be of great help for the ladies. Although India did not perform well in the 5 Nations tournament held a few weeks back, they look set to make it to the Olympics for the second successive time.

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New Zealand

With wealth of experience, New Zealand have a good opportunity to progress out of the eight teams participating in the tournament. The Oceanian side have had good match practice ahead of the competition playing against the USA twice. It was an evenly contested test series with both teams winning a match each.

Prior to this, the team finished second in the Oceania Championships after putting up a tough fight against Australia. However, they did not enjoy a good outing at the FIH Pro League losing majority of their matches. But if we look at the teams competing at the Qualifiers in Ranchi, apart from the USA and Japan all are relatively inexperienced and taking this into consideration, New Zealand have high chances to qualify for Olympics.

Apart from the above mentioned teams USA and Japan shall give a tough fight. In the Olympic qualifying match in 2019, India were on the verge of losing to USA who were then coached by current Indian head coach Janneke Schopman. Moreover, USA have also played the Pro League matches last season with the experienced teams.

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