Irish face Canada in Tokyo qualifiers

Jose Verdugo
Setiembre 11, 2019

Bhubaneswar: The Kalinga Stadium in Odisha capital will host yet another prestigious worldwide sporting event as two matches of the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers are scheduled to be played at the venue on November 1 and 2.

The men's team will take on Russian Federation while the women's side will line-up against the United States of America in their qualifiers in November.

Global 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. "He brings a lot of positivity to the core group and believes in aggressive, attacking hockey and we have been focused on our team goal of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics", added Manpreet Singh on the sidelines of the ongoing National Coaching Camp in SAI, Bengaluru.

The Indian women and men's hockey teams were, on Monday, handed contrasting paths to the Tokyo Games.

As part of preparation for the Qualifiers, the Indian women will play a five-match series against England later this month. "Our focus is not on the U.S. team but on us, how better we perform".

Women's team head coach Sjoerd Marijne expressed his satisfaction over the fitness of the players.

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Indian women's team played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against the USA past year to qualify for the knockout stages of the Women's World Cup in London.

Canada were the lowest ranked (15th) side the women's team could possibly have faced, with Korea, Belgium and United States of America also in the mix.

"As our Chief Coach Graham Reid says, we can not take any team lightly and we need to respect every opponent".

Meanwhile, Reid emphasised that playing world No. 2 Belgium in September will help them step-up their performance ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

Ireland's men beat Canada 4-2 at the Rio Olympics but the 10th-ranked Canadians are now three places higher in the world rankings.

"We played them just before last Olympic qualifier four years ago and we also faced them last summer before the World Cup when they got the better of us". "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". We will respect them and prepare accordingly. We are focusing on how to perform well.

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