The highest ranked team at the latest Hockey Series Open men’s event, Poland, showed why they had top billing as they stormed to victory and a place in one of three Hockey Series Finals next year.
Poland, who are currently ranked 21 in the FIH Hero World Rankings, won four and drew one of their matches in the Hockey Series Open in Gniezno, Poland. From a defensive point of view, Head Coach Karol Sniezek will be delighted with the fact that his team conceded no goals throughout the tournament and netted an impressive 32 goals.
The event was also good news for Italy, who finished second, as the top two teams qualify for the next round of the inaugural Hockey Series competition, the FIH Series Finals.
Italy (WR:37) came into the Hockey Series Open as the fourth ranked team, but after winning three of their matches and drawing the other two – including a cagey 0-0 draw with the eventual winners, they have cause to celebrate. This was a great result for Head Coach Roberto Da Gai and his squad as they finished above the higher-ranked teams, Ukraine (WR: 25) and Czech Republic (WR:28).
Ukraine will rue their draw with Italy as they started in fantastic form, scoring 32 goals in their opening two matches (11-1 against Lithuania (WR:48) and 21-0 against the Cyprus (WR:60). Ukraine lost against Poland 2-0 and drew with Italy 1-1. With only one point separating Ukraine and Italy in the battle for second place, for the team led by head Coach Pavlo Mazur, it was a case of so near and yet so far.
With 42 goals in five matches, it is little surprise that Ukraine’s players dominated the top scorers’ table. Viacheslav Paziuk was overall top scorer with nine goals – eight of them from penalty corners. His team mate Maksym Onofriiuk was in second spot alongside Italy’s Agustin Nunez with eight goals and three other Ukraine players were in the top ten – Bohdan Kovalenko (6), Vitali Kalinchuck (5) and Oleh Polishchuk (5).
Poland and Italy will now be preparing to take their places at one of three FIH Series Finals events, which will be played in 2019, with berths into the Olympic Qualification Events up for grabs. Each of these FIH Series Finals will consist of eight teams and will take place throughout the world.
For detailed information about the FIH Series Finals and Olympic Qualification, visit the Q&A page on the FIH website .
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