London, Aug 27 (IANS) The Spanish men’s hockey team on Thursday qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after Ireland lost to the Netherlands in the semi-finals of the Unibet EuroHockey Championship here.
Ireland’s loss ensured that the only teams who can now win the event have already qualified for Rio through the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Finals — the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain.
“The winner of the EuroHockey Championship will qualify for the 2016 Olympics as European continental champions, opening up a further qualification spot which Spain secure as the team who ranked highest at the HWL Semi-Finals not already qualified,” the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement.
Spain finished fifth at the HWL Semi-Final in Buenos Aires while Ireland finished fifth in Antwerp. However Spain qualify ahead of Ireland as they rank above them in the world rankings.
Spain joins the nine teams already qualified for Rio 2016 — India as Asian Games champions, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions and Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Great Britain and Canada through the HWL Semi-Finals.
Brazil men also joined the line-up when their place in the semi-final at the Pan Am Games satisfied the host nation participation criteria.
The remaining two Olympic places will not be finalised until after the Continental Championships, the Oceania Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations, which finish in November this year.