Top seeds reach Rd 2 - two remaining spots still up for grabs
Belgium and Russia have continued to dominate proceedings at the women’s Hockey World League Round 1 competition currently taking place in Vienna, Austria.
Following triumphs against Lithuania and Austria on Match Days 1 and 2, London 2012 competitors Belgium continued their outstanding form on Friday when they handed out a crushing 4-0 defeat to the previously unbeaten Ukraine. Russia also made it three wins from three by easing past Lithuania 2-0 thanks to first half field goals from Evgenia Sorokina and Ekaterina Shaburova.
The results mean that with two full days of competition remaining, both Belgium and Russia have already claimed enough points to guarantee a top four finish and seal a place in Round 2 of the Hockey World League.
Four teams will fight it out for the two remaining qualifying positions. Ukraine (6pts) and Austria (3pts) currently occupy the third and fourth positions with Wales (0 pts) and Lithuania (0 pts) sitting in fifth and sixth respectively.
After two narrow defeats in their previous matches, it was third time lucky for host nation Austria who got their first win of the competition by defeating Wales 1-0 on Thursday. Kristine Vukovich slammed home the only goal of the game from a penalty corner in the 42nd minute. Although things currently look bleak for Wales and Lithuania, they are certainly not out of the running. Two wins for either side this weekend could be enough to earn that all important top four finish.
The final two days of action take place this weekend, with table-toppers Belgium and Russia getting things underway when they meet on Saturday at 12.30pm (Central European Standard Time). That match is followed by Wales against Lithuania at 14.45 before Austria and Ukraine go head to head at 1700. On Sunday, Belgium face Wales at 12.30, with Ukraine and Russia meeting at 14.45. The final match of the tournament features host nation Austria against Lithuania. A tournament re-cap will be posted to the FIH website on Sunday evening.
For those not in the know, the Hockey World League has been developed by the FIH to present hockey at its best whilst also providing rapidly improving hockey nations with a stage to show what they are capable of. The tournament has four rounds which take place between August 2012 and February 2013, with each round acting as a qualifier for the next.
This process gives every team the potential reach the tournament final. The Hockey World League also acts as the qualification competition for the FIH World Cups which take place in 2014, with 12 qualification places up for grabs. To read more information about the aims and structure of the tournament, please click here.
Official match reports from the competition will be posted to the Vienna 2012 World League webpage at the end of each tournament day. For real-time results, please follow the FIH World League Twitter feed www.twitter.com/World_League1 or use the hashtag search: #World_League1