The Netherlands will be hoping to retain their men’s and women’s titles at the Euro Hockey Nations Championships in Belgian city Antwerp, where the action is due to begin tomorrow. Fans from all over the world can purchase Olympic Hockey Tickets online.
Both tournaments will serve as a direct qualifier for Tokyo 2020, with the winners earning their place at next year’s Olympic Games. In the guys’ event, The Netherlands is successful for a third triumph in a din.
They have only once been outside the top three positions with five wins, seven runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes from 16 appearances. The Netherlands came third in this year’s International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro League and ranked second at the 2018 Hockey World Cup.
On each occasion, Belgium – who they beat in the 2017 Euro Hockey Nations Championship final – has been their nemesis. The holders and hosts have been kept apart in the preliminary round in Antwerp. The Netherlands is in Pool B lengthways with Germany, Ireland, and Scotland. The Netherlands will join Argentina, Japan, and South Africa in Tokyo, with all three teams already qualified.
Eight Olympic places are still available. Russia and Belarus were both relegated from the Women’s Euro Hockey Nations Championship, having finished seventh and eighth. Belgium, meanwhile, has been drawn into Pool A with England, Spain, and Wales. The top two teams from each pool will progress through to the semi-finals, which are scheduled to take place on August 22.
The Netherlands is certainly considered the team to beat in the women’s event as the reigning FIH Pro League and Hockey World Cup champions. Ranked number one in the world, they come into the event on a run of 16 successive wins in competitive matches and will be looking to claim the 10th title from 14 editions.
Standing between them and a place in the semi-finals are Pool A rivals Belgium, Russia, and Spain. Pool B is complete up of Belarus, England, Germany, and Ireland. Competition in the men’s event is scheduled to start tomorrow when Belgium faces Spain in Pool A. Women’s action is set to get underway on Saturday.