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Posted at: Sep 10, 2019, 7:34 AM; last updated: Sep 10, 2019, 8:46 AM (IST)

Men to play Russia, women draw USA

Lausanne (Switzerland), Sept 9

In a favourable draw, India’s men’s hockey team was today pitted against lower-ranked Russia while the women’s team drew a tricky USA in the final round of the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers. The teams will compete in two back-to-back matches on November 1-2 in Bhubaneswar.

The men’s team is ranked fifth in the world while Russia is 22nd in the FIH world rankings. India had mauled Russia 10-0 during the 

FIH Series Final in Bhubaneswar earlier this year. “I believe playing against some of the best teams will give us a good platform for the qualifiers,” India’s chief coach Graham Reid said.

The women’s American team is placed four places below world No. 9 India but it will not be a cakewalk for the Rani Rampal-led side. 

The Indian women had played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against USA in their last meeting at the World Cup in London last year. 

To prepare for the qualifiers, the team will play a five-match series against England this month. 

“I’ve always believed that the opponent we play does not matter as long as we are better prepared and that’s been our focus,” said Rani. — PTI

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Qualified for tokyo 2020

Men: Japan, Argentina, South Africa, Belgium and Australia

Women: Japan, Argentina, South Africa, Netherlands and New Zealand

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Olympics hockey qualifiers

Men

October 25-26: Spain vs France in Valencia

October 26-27: Netherlands vs Pakistan in Amsterdam

October 26-27: Canada vs Ireland in West Vancouver

November 1-2: India vs Russia in Bhubaneswar

November 2-3: New Zealand vs Korea in Stratford

November 2-3: Germany vs Austria in Monchengladbach

November 2-3: Great Britain vs Malaysia in London

Women

October 25-26: Australia vs Russia in Perth

October 25-26: China vs Belgium in Changzhou

October 25-26: Spain vs Korea in Valencia

November 1-2: India vs USA in Bhubaneswar

November 2-3: Germany vs Italy in Monchengladbach

November 2-3: Great Britain vs Chile in London

November 2-3: Ireland vs Canada in Dublin

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