England’s men dip to fifth in hockey world rankings

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) world rankings issued this week show England men have dropped one place to fifth while England women hold their fourth place.

[img_assist|nid=3123|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=90]England men’s dropping of 100 ranking points through not retaining their European Nations Cup title has allowed Spain to leapfrog them in the listings – despite England’s bronze medal and Spain’s sixth-place finish in the 2011 Euros.

Spain now have 1990 ranking points 43 points ahead of England on 1947. The positions could reverse again ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, however, with the Champions Trophy and Champions Challenge I events still to be played this year.

Great Britain’s Champions Trophy points will be allocated proportionately to the home nations based on the number of games played by players of each nation.

Spain will, however, keep all their Champions Challenge points. And as the Champions Challenge only scores 10 points less per place than the top-level Trophy (190 points for winning the Challenge 1, 200 for winning the Champions Trophy, each place after that is ten points less in each event), a decent performance by Great Britain in New Zealand (December 3-11) and an average one by Spain in South Africa November 26 – December 4, could mean it’s time to get out the slide rules.

Great Britain’s seeding at the Games will be determined by the England ranking (as ‘nominated country’). Fourth ranking usually gives a marginal advantage going into the Olympic draw, where top-ranked (and unassailable) Australia and number two Germany will be seeded into opposite groups with one other of the top four qualifiers to go into each group. Spain have however yet to qualify for London 2012.

Netherlands’ third ranking will not be affected by pre-Olympic results and Korea on 1788 points in sixth place are too far behind to break into the top five.

In the women’s rankings, fourth-place England (1696 points) are 69 points behind Germany (1765)  in third place and 21 points ahead of China (1675) in fifth. New Zealand (1615) are also close behind.

A good performance by China in the 2012 Champions Trophy (Rosario Argentina, January 28–February 5, 2012) and a poor one by Great Britain could cede fourth place to the Asian champions. But the buffer is bigger than it seems as China does have 40 points (from the 2008 Champions Trophy) to lose, while England has none.

England could also jump past Germany into third – the German’s having 45 points to drop from their 2008 Champions Trophy second place. Although, again, with the proportional allocation of points to home hations it could all be very close.

New Zealand can pass China and break into the top five with a good performance in Argentina.

At the top of the women’s rankings Argentina’s loss of their Pan American title to the US has cost them first place. Netherlands now top the list on 2063 points, 33 ahead of the world champions. But again these positions could reverse after the Champions Trophy. Although this seems unlikely unless the Netherlands fail to make the medal pool – which would be a major shock for the 2008 Olympic Champions. No other side can break into the top-two ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Men’s top 10 hockey nations

Rk. Country CF Pts.
1 Australia OCE 2620
2 Germany EUR 2470
3 Netherlands EUR  2213
4 Spain EUR  1990
England EUR  1947
Korea  ASI  1788
7 New Zealand  OCE  1610
Argentina  PAN  1470
Pakistan ASI  1460
10  India ASI 1385

Women’s  top 10 hockey nations

Rk. Country CF Pts.
1 Netherlands EUR 2063
2 Argentina PAN 2030
3 Germany EUR 1765
4 England EUR 1696
5 China ASI 1675
6 New Zealand OCE 1615
7 Australia OCE 1548
8 Korea ASI 1423
9 Japan ASI 1318
10 United States PAN 1233