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Big hockey events still to come in 2019

The sport of hockey has a busy year ahead. Next year sees players from around the world trying to win the Olympic title but 2019 still has a lot to offer with important events taking place. Here’s what lies ahead in the hockey world over the rest of this year.

The 2019 EuroHockey Championships

All attention for European fans will be on this tournament that is currently taking place in Antwerp, Belgium. The EuroHockey Championships take place every two years and with it being the Olympics next year, it’s even more important.

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments are taking place simultaneously. There are eight countries taking part in the men’s tournament. They are split into two groups of four with the top two from each group qualifying for the semi-finals. The bottom two countries in each group battle it out to avoid relegation to EuroHockey Championship II.

Group A sees hosts Belgium face England, Spain and Wales. The Belgians are currently ranked second in the world (behind Australia), England are sixth, Spain ninth and Wales in 25th place. In Group B, it’s the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Scotland. The Netherlands are ranked third, Germany seventh, Ireland 11th and Scotland 21st.

Both the Dutch and Belgian teams have made great starts to the tournament winning their first two games. The Men’s final takes place on Saturday August 24. The Netherlands are chasing a third straight title after beating Belgium in the 2017 final.

The Women’s EuroHockey Championship is being contested by eight countries. The format is the same for the Men’s event and the final takes place on Sunday 25 August. Group A sees Belgium take on The Netherlands, Spain and Russia. In Group B, it’s Germany, England, Ireland and Belarus.

The top match so far has seen the Netherlands draw 1-1 with Belgium. The Netherlands are the defending champions and beat Belgium in the 2017 final. They are bidding to win the title for the fifth time in eight championships. Feel sorry for Belarus, they lost their opening Group B fixture against Germany 13-0.

Olympic Qualifiers

With the Olympics Hockey tournament taking place next year, no one wants to miss out on taking part. The Men’s event will have 12 teams and the Women’s 14.competing countries. Japan are the hosts and qualify automatically despite only being currently ranked at number 16 in the world in the Men’s game and 14th in the Women’s rankings.

That leaves 11 places up for grabs in the Men’s tournament and two of those have been filled in recent weeks by Argentina and South Africa via the Pan American Games and African Olympic qualifying event. If you fancy having a wager on the game, you can get a nice unibet bonus when joining the online bookmaker.

The EuroHockey winners will qualify for the Olympics tournament. September will see another place filled via the 2019 Oceania Cup that takes place in Australia. There are only two countries taking part, namely Australia and New Zealand. It’s a best-of-three series and Australia are the heavy odds on favourites to be the winners. The Australians have dominated the Oceania Cup.

The final seven qualifying places will be decided between 25 October and 3 November. World rankings will determine who will play who as they battle it out to make it to Japan in 2020. Countries likely to be taking part in these Olympic qualifiers include India, New Zealand, Canada and Malaysia.

The Women’s Olympic tournament has seen seven countries qualify to date. Australia, Germany, Ireland, South Korea, the Netherlands, India, Canada and Spain already have their seats booked. Those final qualifiers will determine the remaining six teams so an exciting end to the hockey year is guaranteed.

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