LAHORE     -   Pakistan hockey team will be looking for Olympic ticket, when they face Netherlands in the first of the double header qualifier.

Pakistan will meet the hosts Netherlands again tomorrow as the aggregate score of both the matches will decide that who would win the right to play in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 hockey event.

Pakistan chances look quite dim after recent thrashing at the hands of Germany last week as they lost the first encounter 6-1 and the second 6-2. Seeing the recent performances of Pakistan hockey team, which have had an unsettled time, only a miracle can help them beat the hosts Netherlands by a good margin to earn an Olympic ticket.

Pakistan head coach Olympian Khawaja Junaid said: “Netherlands have been displaying good hockey tactics and skills recently. We are preparing our strategy to control their strengths.”

The Netherlands side has been enjoying steady success in the past few months. A third place finish in the FIH Pro League came off the back of a silver medal performance at the 2018 World Cup.

The Dutch have played at 18 out of a total of 23 Olympic Games – the last time they were absent was the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Head coach Max Caldas and his men will have the pressure and expectation of a large and vociferous home crowd to contend with.

Netherlands’ Seve Van Ass said: “Pakistan are a really good team and we have huge respect for them. They have quality players with some individual skills and we have had some tough matches against them.”

The next two weekends (October 25-27 & November 1-3) will see some fascinating hockey matches taking place as 14 men’s and 14 women’s teams do battle for a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The seven winning teams in each gender will join Japan men and women, who qualify as both hosts and as Asian champions. The other four continental champions are also qualified, namely Argentina men and women, South Africa men and women, Netherlands women, New Zealand women, Belgium men and Australia men.

Participants in the Olympic Qualifiers booked their places through one of three avenues: nations that finished first or second in the FIH Series Finals that took place earlier in the year; nations that finished in the top 4 of the inaugural FIH Pro League but did not win their Continental Championship; or by virtue of their FIH World Ranking.

Within each gender, the 14 teams have been drawn into seven pairs, and they will play a double header over two consecutive days with the scores from both matches added together. As French player Charles Masson pointed out: “It is two times 60 minutes, so we must be patient.”