The Hockey World League Semi finals commenced in Buenos Aires. This competition is one of the two ways in which nations can qualify for the Olympic Games. Many nations Olympic funding is based on their results in this tournament, so every nation has committed full strength squads.
A place in the quarter finals could well guarantee a nation’s place at the Olympics. Finish in the top three and you are assured a place in Rio.
Sadly having two paths of qualification means that the team coming fourth has to wait and see if any of the nations in the top three win their confederation’s Championship, as that too guarantees direct qualification for Rio. So if a team has come third in the Hockey World League and wins its Confederation’s Championship the fourth placed team qualifies. Some feel that maybe the losing finalist should be the one to receive the Olympic spot.
It is a real conundrum. What it currently means is the quarter finals at the Hockey World League semi finals are the most contested games. That is why you will see fight backs such as South Korea’s remarkable come from behind win against Japan.