Home favourites Ireland and talented South Americans Chile have continued their excellent start to the UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2 event, with both nations making it three wins from three matches to top the pools ahead of the event quarter-finals in Dublin.
Ireland (FIH World Ranking: 14) sealed top spot in Pool A with a comprehensive win against Turkey (WR: 36), a result which ensured that the Green Army and their hoards of supporters would be able to enjoy the St Patrick’s Day celebrations with the sweet taste of victory in their mouths. It certainly proved to be a special day for Naomi Carroll, who netted four goals in the win with Emma Smyth also making a significant contribution by bagging a hat-trick. Canada (WR: 22) finished second in Pool A thanks to a 3-1 win over third-placed Ukraine (WR: 25), with Hannah Haughn scoring twice for her team.
Chile (WR: 20) confirmed their status as the winners of Pool B with a superb 6-0 win over Austria (WR: 27). Daniela Carem scored twice with Manuela Urroz, Denise Krimerman, Francisca Pizarro and Sofia Filipek also registering as the South Americans finished four points ahead of second placed Belarus (WR: 18), the top ranked team in the Pool. The Belarusians were given a stern test in their final Pool match, with bottom of the table Lithuania (WR: 34) earning a 3-3 draw against their higher-ranked opponents before Belarus took the bonus point in the shoot-out.
In the quarter-final phase, the two Pool winners will face the sides that finished bottom of the other Pool, with Pool A winners Ireland going head-to-head with Lithuania while Pool B winners Chile face Turkey. Canada versus Austria and Belarus versus Ukraine completes Thursday line-up. To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.
In the women’s Hockey World League, a total of seven qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals are available from the Round 2 events in Montevideo (URU), New Delhi (IND) and Dublin (IRL). The reason for seven rather nine qualifiers is because both Spain and Belgium, two nations ranked between 12-19 at the time of seeking entries, are hosting Semi-Final tournaments later this year and have therefore already qualified.
The top two finishers from Montevideo, New Delhi and Dublin are certain to qualify for the Semi-Finals, being joined by the highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events. Italy and Uruguay recently confirmed their places in the Semi-Finals with a top two finish at the event in Montevideo, and were joined in Round 3 by India and Poland, who reached the final of the event in New Delhi.
Azerbaijan are currently the highest ranked of the third place finishers, although they will need to wait for the completion of the HWL Round 2 event in Dublin before knowing if they have made the cut. To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.
You can keep track of the tournament in Dublin on the official tournament microsite.