New Zealand, Spain hockey teams to compete in 2016 Olympics

Lausanne, Dec 21 (IANS) The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Monday confirmed that Spain women and New Zealand men have officially accepted invitations to participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

This now confirms the 12 team line-ups for both the men’s and women’s hockey events for next year’s Olympics, and following last week’s world rankings update, the pools are now set, according to a statement from FIH.

In women’s Pool A, defending Olympic and reigning world champions Netherlands, ranked number 1 in the FIH World Rankings, will face 2015 Hockey World League (HWL) runners up New Zealand (ranked 4 in the World Rankings); China (5); Germany (8); Korea (9) and Spain (14).

In women’s Pool B, 2015 HWL champions Argentina (2) will face Australia (3); Great Britain (6 – based on England’s ranking); USA (7); Japan (10) and India (13).

In the men’s event, Pool A sees reigning World and HWL champions Australia, currently ranked number one in the world, face Great Britain (4 – based on England’s ranking); 2015 HWL runners up Belgium (5); New Zealand (8); Spain (11) and hosts Brazil (32).

In Pool B of the men’s event, world number two ranked Netherlands will play defending Olympic champions Germany (3); Argentina (6); India (7); Ireland (12) and Canada (14).

The full match schedule for all the pool games and play-off stages will be confirmed later in February.

Spain women and New Zealand men were invited to participate following the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (SASCOC) decision to reject invitations for South Africa’s men’s and women’s hockey teams.

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