Lausanne, Switzerland: Despite showcasing fewer games, only the Valencia Men’s pools stepping onto the pitch, Day 5 of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 produced some exhilarating tournament hockey. Spain and Belgium registered huge wins to cement their top spots, whilst Korea and Ireland clinched second place with important wins, leaving their opponents in third place. The first of the two men’s venues to finalise placings, the Valencia pools have set the standard for the Oman pools and the tournament beyond. Some impressive performances have caught eyes and triggered momentum, giving teams a well-earned boost on their hunt for Paris.
The day began with Spain’s dismantling of Egypt. The host nation had put five past Egypt by the half-time break, before then extending their lead to reach an 8-1 victory. Marc Miralles’s two penalty corners and Alvaro Iglesias’s two field goals contributed to pushing Spain two points clear at the top of Pool B, and consigning Egypt to bottom spot. Korea produced a vital performance against Austria, Jonghyun Jang’s two penalty corners playing a big part in their 4-2 win. The battle for second place, Korea’s first win of the qualifiers takes them to five points and positions them above the Austrians, as they finish the pool unbeaten.
In the other pool, the Belgians continued to set the standard for the tournament, producing the most emphatic of 12-0 wins over Ukraine. A Tom Boon hat-trick was accompanied by three braces from William Ghislain, Alexander Hendrickx and Thibeau Stockbroekx respectively. Belgium’s third win in as many games extends their pool-topping goal difference to +23, and solidifies them as the strongest performing team so far in the men’s competition. Ireland did just enough to beat Japan 1-0, Luke Madeley’s penalty corner being enough to send Ireland second in the group, doubling their point tally. Japan’s seven unconverted corners will leave them agonising over a game that could have sent them through in second place.
To see the current pool standings for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers in Valencia, please click here.
For more information about the qualifiers and the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024, visit Olympics.Hockey.
FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024
Valencia, Spain – 17 January
Result Match 1 (M)
Spain 8-1 Egypt
Player of the match: Gerard Clapes (ESP)
Umpires: Rawi Anbananthan & Tim Meissner
Result Match 2 (M)
Austria 2-4 Korea
Player of the match: Jung Mungjae (KOR)
Umpires: David Tomlinson & Zeke Newman
Result Match 3 (M)
Belgium 12-0 Ukraine
Player of the match: Tom Boon (BEL)
Umpires: Ilango Kanbathu & Nick Bennett
Result Match 4 (M)
Japan 0-1 Ireland
Player of the match: Shane O’Donoghue (IRL)
Umpires: Ben Goentgen & Michiel Otten