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World’s top teams head for SA

Top-level hockey is coming to South Africa once again and all roads lead to Randburg.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has now confirmed which teams will be taking part in each of the Hockey World League semi-finals being played in England, Belgium and South Africa between June and July next year.
Two men’s and two women’s semi-finals, which are Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers, will take place at these three locations between 15 June and 23 July.
Ten teams will compete in each semi-final, with the first six now confirmed, based on their current FIH Hero World Ranking. Four more teams will qualify for each semi-final from the Hockey World League Round 2 events taking place between January and April 2017.
England’s men will be looking to pack out the stands at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre between 15-25 June as they look forward to welcoming Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists Argentina, reigning European champions Netherlands, Asian champions India, Korea and Pakistan.
The first women’s semi-final begins at the Stade Fallon in Brussels on 21 June and concludes on 2 July. Reigning world champions Netherlands will be going up against hosts Belgium, Oceania champions Australia, Hockey World League Season 2 runners-up New Zealand, China and Asian champions Korea.
Ten men’s and 10 women’s teams will then descend upon Randburg Hockey Stadium in Johannesburg between 8-23 July for the last of the semi-finals.
The men’s event will be contested between Hockey World Cup, World League and Champions Trophy winners Australia, Olympic silver medallists Belgium, Olympic bronze medallists Germany, New Zealand, Spain and hosts South Africa, winners of last year’s African Hockey Championship.
The women’s event will see England, who will be represented by many athletes who won the Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal for Great Britain, take on reigning Hockey Champions Trophy and World League champions Argentina, Olympic bronze medallists Germany, African champions and hosts South Africa, Pan American champions USA and Japan.
Composed of four rounds and played over two years, the Hockey World League shines a spotlight on the sport around the world. Even the smallest hockey-playing nations have the opportunity to write their own chapter in hockey’s history books.
A lot is at stake for teams participating in these Hockey World League semi-finals. Whilst vital FIH Hero World Ranking points will be awarded depending on final standings, the top teams from each semi-final will qualify for the 2018 Hockey World Cups in India (men) and England (women) in addition to the Hockey World League finals taking place in India (men) and New Zealand (women) later in 2017.


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