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FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2024: How did Day 1 pan out?

On the opening day of the FIH 2024 Olympic Qualifiers, fans witnessed an array of outcomes as ten matches were played in Ranchi and Valencia. The Spanish women’s team dazzled with a 7-0 win over Malaysia, while the USA women’s team narrowly beat India 1-0, leaving the home crowd shocked. The men’s match between Egypt and Korea was a goal fest, ending in a 4-4 draw, contrasting the goalless tie between the Irish women’s team and Belgium’s robust squad.

These first matches began to shape the early rankings, with some teams tied in points due to draws. It was an exciting glimpse into what the road to Paris holds for the teams and supporters. In Ranchi, defenses shone as the winning women’s teams kept their opponents from scoring. Germany defeated Chile 3-0, overshadowing the celebration of Fernanda Flores’s 200th game.

Following Germany’s victory, Japan secured a 2-0 win with a penalty stroke and corner, placing them just behind Germany based on goals scored. In Pool B for the women, New Zealand celebrated Tarryn Davey’s 100th appearance with a 3-0 win against Italy. France’s Frances Davies was named Player of the Match for her two goals from penalty corners, pushing Italy to the pool’s bottom.

The USA’s Abigail Tamer scored early, propelling her team to a surprising 1-0 victory over India and nabbing second place. In Valencia, the women’s qualifiers saw more competition. Great Britain beat Canada 2-0 with goals from Tess Howard and Katie Robertson. But Spain stole the show with an incredible 7-0 win against Malaysia, after only leading by 1-0 at the break.

As for Belgium and Ireland, they couldn’t break the deadlock, ending the day in a 0-0 tie, and Irish keeper Ayeisha Mcferran earned her Player of the Match award. In another match, Korean Captain Enubi Cheon’s two goals helped Korea to a 3-0 win over Ukraine.

The men’s qualifiers in Valencia’s Group B kicked off with Spain beating Austria 4-1, even though Josef Winkler of Austria managed to tie the game in the first quarter. Korea and Egypt’s men provided a stunning match, scoring five times in the last quarter to finish at 4-4, sharing the points.


Germany 3-0 Chile (W)

Germany got off to a strong start and dominated the game, beating Chile 3-0 in their first game at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers. The event took place at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Stadium on a bright Saturday afternoon. Chile’s goalkeeper, Natalia Salvador, made several key saves that kept the score from climbing even higher.

Germany, who is ranked 5th in the world and the top team in the tournament, quickly got a chance to score with a penalty corner less than two minutes in, but captain Nike Lorenz’s shot missed. Sonja Zimmerman earned the title of Player of the Match for her performance with the German team.

Japan 2-0 Czech Republic (W)

In their game later on, Japan managed a 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic, who were ranked 25th in the world and the lowest-rated team at the event. Their win in their second Group A game was due to ineffective shooting. Early on, Miyu Suzuki scored with a penalty corner after just four minutes.

It was the only goal out of Japan’s eight penalty corners. Shihori Oikawa increased the score with a penalty stroke in the 40th minute. Miyu Hasegawa stood out as Japan’s best player in the match.

New Zealand 3-0 Italy (W)

Frances Davies scored twice as New Zealand beat Italy 3-0 with three well-taken penalty corners in the first match of Pool B at the FIH Women’s Olympic Qualifier on Saturday. Davies found the net in the 7th and 51st minutes, while Stephanie Dickins added another goal in the 53rd minute. The Black Sticks came out strong, immediately putting the Italian defense under pressure.

They quickly earned two penalty corners, with the second leading to their opening goal. Following Davies’ second strike, Dickins widened the gap to three goals, sealing the game for New Zealand. The team then focused on defense, successfully protecting their lead. Davies’ standout performance earned her the Player of the Match title.

India 0-1 USA (W)

In their first game of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Ranchi, the Indian women’s hockey team, captained by Savita Punia, was edged out 0-1 by the United States. Abigail Tamer put the US ahead early in the second quarter with a goal, and they managed to hold onto that lead for the rest of the match.

India felt the absence of experienced forward Vandana Katariya, who had to sit out due to a cheekbone injury she suffered while training just a week before the start. Her spot on the team has been taken by the younger Baljeet Kaur. For her standout performance, Kelsey Bing from the US team took home the Player of the Match award.

Great Britain 2-0 Canada (W)

The British women’s hockey team kicked off their journey in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers for 2024 with a solid 2-0 victory against Canada in Valencia last Saturday. Tessa Howard and Anna Toman netted one goal each in a tight Group B game. Eyeing a spot in the Paris Olympics, both squads played it safe early on, focusing on defense and trying to pry open opportunities. Sophie Hamilton shone as Great Britain’s standout player of the match.

Spain 7-0 Malaysia (W)

The women’s hockey team from Malaysia hit a rough patch in their quest to qualify for the 2024 Olympics when Spain crushed them 7-0 at Valencia’s Beterodi Stadium. In their group game, the Malaysian team put up a strong defense initially, holding Spain, ranked 8th in the world, to a scoreless 30 minutes until Patricia Alvarez netted the first goal.

Spain’s Belen Iglesias and Maria Lopez added more points with goals in the 37th and 41st minutes. Spain then took full control, with Iglesias scoring again and Alvarez nabbing two quick goals, rounding out with Beatriz Perez’s final score. Spain’s standout player was Blanca Perez.

Spain 4-1 Austria (W)

In a soccer match, Spain beat Austria with a score of 4-1. Spain’s Miralles Marc scored first at 18 minutes, but Austria’s Winkler Josef quickly tied it up in the same minute. Spain pulled ahead when Basterra Jos nailed a penalty corner at 22 minutes. Before halftime, Cunill Pepe added a third goal for Spain, and Gonzalez Enrique hit the fourth. Basterra Jos shone as the match’s best player for Spain.

Korea 4-4 Egypt (M)

In Valencia, Egypt faced off against Korea in the second game of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024. The game was a thrilling back-and-forth that ended in a 4-4 tie, with both sides sharing the points. Korea had the upper hand at the break, leading 1-0 after Jonghyun Jang scored from a penalty corner in the 23rd minute. The third quarter saw each team net a goal, with Korea still in front 2-1. The real excitement came in the last quarter.

Egypt’s Mohamed Edris and Hossam Ghobran scored in the 48th and 49th minutes, putting Egypt ahead. But Korea’s Kim Junghoo quickly evened things up with a 50th-minute goal. With just ten minutes left, the teams were locked at 3-3. Egypt’s Ahmed Elnaggar swung the game again with a penalty corner goal in the 53rd minute, but Korea’s Lee Nam Yong tied the game at 58 minutes. Egypt’s standout player was Mohamed Edris, who made a mark on the match.

Belgium 0-0 Ireland (W)

Ayeisha McFerran starred in goal with a standout 60-minute performance, and Ireland’s women played tough defense as they began their Olympic qualification with a well-earned 0-0 draw against Belgium in Valencia. McFerran was a wall, using her gear to stop every shot, especially during a first quarter where she faced nine penalty corners.

The Irish team, known as the Green Army, held strong against the world’s fourth-ranked team, with their fans cheering wildly in the cold. The disappointed Belgian team felt the sting of a missed opportunity at the game’s end, suggesting they saw it as a win that slipped away. McFerran’s heroics earned her the title of best player in the match for Ireland.

Korea 3-0 Ukraine (W)

An Sujin (KOR) Korea’s three goals against Ukraine have propelled them to the top of Pool A. Enubi Cheon, the Korean team captain, netted two goals, leading his team to a 3-0 victory. Sujin stood out as the top performer for Korea in the game.

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Pushkar Pandey

Pushkar is a sports writer and covers sports topics. He is employed at the sports divisions of sportslumo and statjunction in the US Olympics section. His writing is captivating when it comes to covering sports activities like running, swimming, and gymnastics.