What are the basics of Olympic field hockey?

The Paris Olympic field hockey matches for men and women begin with round-robin play, involving teams divided into two groups — Pool A and Pool B. In the 12-team men's and women's tournaments, six teams are in each pool. 

What is the format for Olympic field hockey?

Preliminary Round

In the round robin (also known as pool play), each team plays the other teams in its pool once, for a total of five games. In pool play, each team receives three points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss. The top-four teams in each pool advance to the quarterfinals. In the preliminary round, rankings are based on:

  1. Total points (maximum 15)
  2. Matches won
  3.  Goal differential (total goals scored minus goals against)
  4. Total goals scored

If teams are tied in the standings after pool play, then the same criteria will be applied to only the games played between the tied teams. If there is still a tie, a penalty stroke competition will be held among the tied teams until a winner is decided.


The Rio Olympics were the first Games with the quarterfinal format. The quarterfinals are a crucial stage where teams compete for a spot in the semifinals.

The top-four teams from each pool in the preliminary round will face off in the quarterfinals. The four losing teams from the quarterfinals are eliminated from the tournament. 

  • 1st Pool A vs. 4th Pool B
  • 2nd Pool A vs. 3rd Pool B
  • 3rd Pool A vs. 2nd Pool B
  • 4th Pool A vs. 1st Pool B


The winners of the quarterfinals (four teams) advance to the semifinals, which consists of two separate matches on the same day. The winners from each semifinal advance to the gold-medal match. The two losing teams from each semifinal play in the bronze medal match. 

Medal Matches

The semifinal winners compete in the gold-medal match to determine the gold and silver medalists. The two losing teams from the semifinals play in the bronze-medal match.

How many field hockey teams go to the Olympics?

A total of 12 men's teams and 12 women's teams have qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

Men's Teams
Argentina Australia  Belgium
France Germany Great Britain
India Ireland Netherlands
New Zealand South Africa Spain
Women's Teams
Argentina Australia  Belgium
France Germany Great Britain
China Japan Netherlands
United States South Africa Spain

How do you qualify for Olympic field hockey?

For both the men and women, each of the continental champions (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania) secured a team spot for their respective NOC (National Olympic Committee). France, as the host nation, received a direct quota place in both the men's and women's tournament. The remaining quota places were decided by two separate FIH Olympic qualifying tournaments, with the top-three squads at the end of each tournament qualifying for the Games.