Spain is the first male team to qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympics from the two-match qualifiers. On Saturday also three women’s teams secured a spot for the next year’s Games.
Men’s qualification started with the Friday game of Spain versus France held in Valencia. The surprise was very near as the guests were leading 3-0 almost until the half-time, with the penalty stroke used by Xavier Lleonart in the very last minute of the second quarter. The Spanish team managed to save the draw thanks to two penalty corner goals by Pau Quemada. The revenge was another tight game, with the hosts taking the 3-2 victory and the Olympic spot.
Quite the opposite was the battle between female teams of Australia and Russia in Perth. With the 4-2 and 5-0 Hockeyroos easily got the quota for the Games, where they’re supposed to be one of the main favorites to the podium.
Meanwhile in Changzhou China was playing against Belgium. With the goals in the second and penultimate minutes of the first minute Red Panthers won the first game 2-0. However, the hosts scored twice within a minute in the last quarter of the revenge, leading to the shootout, won by the Asians in the sudden death 2-1, eliminating the Belgians from the Olympics.
Valencia saw also the women’s games between Spain and South Korea. While it was Jang Hee-sun who scored the first goal of this two-match, two goals by Spain in both matches gave the Red Sticks 2-1 and 2-0 victories, leading to the Tokyo 2020.
Next quotas will be awarded after the Sunday matches, while the second part of the qualifier will be held next weekend.