India, Malaysia, Poland & Thailand have reached the final four at the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round 2 tournament in New Delhi after winning in the quarter-finals.
Striker Vandana Katariya took her event scoring tally to ten in four matches with a four goal haul as home favourites India (FIH World Ranking: 13) booked their place in the semi-finals with a win against Singapore (WR: 43). India’s opponents in the final four will be surprise outfit Thailand (WR: 45), who claimed a stunning 4-3 victory over a Kazakhstan (WR: 32) side that sits 13 places above them in the FIH World Rankings. India and Thailand will go head-to-head in the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday (14 March) at 2000 (local time – UTC / GMT +5.30).
The other semi-final, which takes place at 1745, will be contested between Poland (WR: 26) and Malaysia (WR: 21). Goals from Oriana Walasek, Natalia Wisniewska, team captain Marlena Rybacha and Magdalena Zagajska earned Poland a 4-2 win over higher-ranked Russia (WR: 23), while Malaysia overcame a strong challenge from Ghana (WR: 30) to emerge 2-0 winners thanks to strikes from Norazlin Sumantri and Hanis Onn.
As well as the semi-finals, Saturday’s action will feature the 5-8 classification matches with Singapore squaring up against Kazakhstan at 1315 before Russia face Ghana at 1530. To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.
In the women’s Hockey World League, a total of seven qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals are available from the Round 2 events in Montevideo (URU), New Delhi (IND) and Dublin (IRL). The reason for seven rather nine qualifiers is because both Spain and Belgium, two nations ranked between 12-19 at the time of seeking entries, are hosting Semi-Final tournaments later this year and have therefore already qualified.
The top two finishers from Montevideo, New Delhi and Dublin are certain to qualify for the Semi-Finals, being joined by the highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events. Italy and Uruguay recently confirmed their places in the Semi-Finals with a top two finish at the event in Montevideo, while Azerbaijan face a nervous wait until the end of the Round 2 events before knowing if they are the highest ranked of the third placed finishers.
Photograph: EHF/Frank Uijlenbroek