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FIH rankings refreshed after Pro League concludes (7/1/2019)
--s2h Team
Australia claimed the first-ever men’s FIH Pro League title beating World champions Belgium 3-2 in the grand final at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, The Netherlands, on Sunday. Not only did the Kookaburras stride the top podium, they also leapfrogged Belgium to the top of the FIH rankings.

Netherlands finished third in the FIH Pro League beating Great Britain 5-3.

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The new rankings place Australia at No. 1, followed by Belgium, Netherlands, Argentina, India, England (Great Britain), Germany, New Zealand, Spain and Canada in the top 10 spots.

Ireland, Malaysia, France, South Africa, Korea, Japan, Pakistan, China, Austria and Egypt are ranked No. 11-20 respectively.

The top four in the FIH Pro League book berths in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers scheduled for October-November. So, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands and Great Britain make the grade along with six nations from the FIH Series Finals namely: Canada, Malaysia, India, South Africa, France and Ireland.

Four more nations will join the party as fourth-best ranked who haven’t either qualified directly for the Tokyo extravaganza or who haven’t made it to the qualifiers from either the FIH Pro League or Series finals. This will bring in Argentina, Germany, New Zealand and Spain.

Japan have qualified both as hosts and Asian Games gold medalists.

The four other continental championships are due to be held from July to September.

Realistically, Australia (Oceania), Belgium, Germany or Netherlands (Europe), Argentina or Canada (Pan America) and South Africa (Africa) are the other likely nations to win continental titles and book tickets to Tokyo.

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This will bring Korea, Pakistan (pardoned by the FIH for pulling out of the Pro League), China and Austria into the qualifiers.

South Africa, however, could be made to go through the qualifiers by their austere Olympic board who last time around didn’t recognize the African title as a worthy credential for making the trip to the Games.

WOMEN In the women’s FIH Pro League, Netherlands beat Australia in a shootout after the grand final ended 2-2 also at the Wagener Stadium on Saturday. Germany did likewise over Argentina to finish third.

The new rankings see Netherlands retain the No. 1 ranking, followed by Australia, Argentina, England (Great Britain), Germany, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and India in the top 10 spots.

China, Korea, USA, Japan, Chile, South Africa, Italy, Canada, Scotland and Malaysia are ranked No. 11-20. Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Argentina – top four FIH Pro League finishers -- made the qualifiers where they will join Korea, Ireland, India, Japan, Spain and Canada who made the grade via the FIH Series Finals.

Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and Belgium are likely to join in on the basis of world rankings. However, Australia or New Zealand (Oceania), Netherlands, Germany or England (Europe), Argentina (Pan America) and South Africa (Africa) are likely to win their respective continental titles to book direct berths to the Olympics. Japan, like their men’s team, have qualified by virtue of being hosts and Asian Games gold medalists.

The vacant slots created will pull in China, USA, Chile and Italy.

Like their male counterparts, the South African women may be made to endure the rigours of the qualifiers.

The rankings will refreshed after all the continental events conclude. A new set of rankings will then come into being and will be announced on September 8. This will be followed by the draw for the Olympic qualifiers which will be two-legged playoffs hosted by the higher-ranked nation.

FIH PRO LEAGUE AWARDS: MEN

Deloitte Best Goal of the Grand Final: Tom Boon (BEL) in the semi-final against Netherlands
Volvo Goalkeeper of the Grand Final: Tyler Lovell (AUS)
Hero Top Scorer: Blake Govers (AUS)
Best Player of the FIH Pro League: Aran Zalewski (AUS) FIH PRO LEAGUE AWARDS: WOMEN


Auping Best Goal of the Grand Final: Micaela Retegui (ARG) in the 3-4 Play-Off
Deloitte Goalkeeper of the Grand Final: Rachael Lynch (AUS)
Hero Top Scorer: Olivia Merry (NZL) - 15 goals.
FIH Best Player of the FIH Pro League: Frederique Matla (NED)

Pics: FIH Site

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