Indian men's hockey team will take on Russia in FIH Olympic Qualifier

Katie Mullan

As per the new qualifying system, the teams will be involved in a two-match series in Bhubaneshwar on November 1-2, with the winners punching their tickets to Tokyo 2020.

Worldwide federation CEO Thierry Weil said that if South Korea qualifies and still wishes to form a joint team with the North, the decision will be up to the IOC, not the FIH.

In both instances, the Caribous were the lowest ranked potential opponent and so both sides can go into their head-to-head qualifiers - played out over two legs at the same venue - with a degree of confidence. "I understand there has been a lot of suspense over which team we might draw to play against in the Olympic Qualifiers but we didn't want to let it come in the way of our preparations", Rani mentioned. "Our focus is not on the USA team but on us, how better we perform". The Russian team, on the other hand, had won 12-1 against Uzbekistan, 3-2 against Poland and lost a close 1-2 match against South Africa in the knockout stage.

India had enrolled a stunning 10-0 win against Russian Federation if they played during the FIH Series Final in Bhubaneswar before this season.

Canada's women have sat out the last six Olympics, last competing in 1992 when they finished seventh in Barcelona in their third trip to the Games.

The Indian men's hockey team chief coach Graham Reid said they are confident of qualifying for the big-ticket event. Pakistan, who failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics and looked certain to miss out again next year due to financial troubles, will have to take on the mighty Dutch for a place at the Games.

The updated FIH rankings after the end of the Oceania Cup saw the top-five among men, including India, retain their positions despite the upsets in the recent European Championships. They're devoted to attaining the Olympic Qualifications, and in that pursuit, we continue to focus on enhancing our defense and functioning on generating quality chances in the circle in this continuing camp. We will respect them and prepare accordingly. We are focusing on continuing the brilliant communication on the field and maintain our level of performance. "I am certain that they will come well prepared because it is the Olympic Qualifiers and they're capable of astonishing any staff thus it's important we stay focused on our own operation and play our very best hockey".



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