Germany, Argentina, Dutch hockey teams qualify for 2016 Olympics

Buenos Aires, June 15 (IANS) Reigning Olympic champions Germany, along with Argentina and the Netherlands, have qualified for the 2016 Olympics as they grabbed the top three places in the men’s Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final here.

Germany emerged champions following their emphatic 4-1 win over host nation Argentina in the final, while the 2012 Olympics silver medallists the Netherlands crushed Canada 6-1 in the third place play-off on Sunday. With these results, the top three teams also qualified for the HWL Final to be hosted by India from November 28.

Germany took a 2-0 lead with goals from Christopher Ruhr and Niklas Wellen before a penalty stroke from Argentina’s Juan Gilardi reduced the deficit at the Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo (CeNARD) stadium.

World Cup 2014 bronze medallists Argentina came close to levelling numerous times, but late strikes from Ruhr and Florian Fuchs confirmed a notable competition victory for coach Markus Weise’s men.

Ruhr’s double strike made him the competition’s joint-top scorer alongside Spain striker Pau Quemada with six goals, while the impressive performances of 20-year-old Wellen saw him named as the competition’s Best Young Player in the prize giving ceremony.

It was also a good day for 2014 World Cup runners up the Netherlands, who powered to a 6-0 win over Canada to claim a third place finish thanks to a brace from Constantijn Jonker and goals from Billy Bakker, Mink van der Weerden, Robbert Kemperman and Robert van der Horst.

Canada’s fourth place finish leaves them within touching distance of a ticket to Rio, although they will have to wait until the conclusion of the Continental Championships before knowing if they have done enough.

The brilliance of Canadian shot-stopper David Carter was recognised at the prize distribution ceremony, being voted both the competition’s Best Player and Best Goalkeeper.

Earlier in the day, Spain kept their Olympic hopes alive by defeating New Zealand 3-1 to claim fifth place, while South Korea ended a disappointing campaign on a positive note by finishing seventh thanks to a 1-0 win over Asian rivals Japan. Egypt and Austria finished 9th and 10th respectively.

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