Field Hockey 101: Competition format

Field Hockey 101: Competition format
Posted at 6:23 PM, Mar 09, 2021


The Tokyo Olympic field hockey competitions 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. 

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.


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 Rio Olympics were the first games with the new quarterfinal format. After the group stage, the top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals. The winners of the quarterfinal matches face off in the semifinals. The semifinal winners compete in the Gold Medal Match. The semifinal losers meet in the Bronze Medal Match.