Three things to watch in the FIH Olympic Qualifier semifinal match in Ranchi, India: USA vs Japan

Team USA is within reach of achieving Olympic dreams.


The USA Women’s National Field Hockey team (No. 12) is set to play No. 11 Japan at 6 a.m. Thursday (EST) in the final FIH Olympic Qualifier in Ranchi, India. The winner moves on to play in the championship game and the loser slides into the bronze bracket, which is still a chance to qualify.


Team USA secured the top spot in Pool B after defeating India, Italy and New Zealand. Goalie Kelsey Bing didn’t allow one goal and her defense thwarted baseline runs that prevented all three teams from capitalizing on that shot option.


Japan finished second in Pool B. Germany dominated in Pool B by scoring exponentially more than any other team with landing 14. Japan tied Germany 1-1. They drew second place with the same record of 2-0-1, but Germany’s goal differential secured them the top position. Japan scored 5 goals in pool play. 


The top three teams will advance to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.


Here are three things to watch in the semi-finals:


VIDEO: NFHCA Conference at Winter Escape in Florida. 

3. Emotions: The excitement behind the quick accomplishments of what head coach David Passmore’s young squad has achieved since his start in August 2022 has been nothing short of eliciting a ‘wow.’ Passmore picked up the mantle and told FAN within his first few months that Team USA was not going to back down on the international turf. Now facing the biggest game of their journey thus far, every single athlete on the roster needs to remain centered, focused and play all 60 minutes.


2. Defense: USA’s defense has been incredibly organized and composed under pressure. Japan has speed and quick sticks. Regardless of whether the shots are on the ground or blistering in the air, Bing needs to keep up the momentum by executing exceptional communication.


1. Team: In their game against India, the United Eagles maintained possession 40 percent of the game and had fewer stats. But, all it took was one relentless goal, a follow up shot, to nail the upset win. In their game against New Zealand, it was recorded as 50-50 possession. With their power packed defense, from the back line to the front, one of the strongest highlights of the tournament is how well the United Eagles have played as a team. Without that basic aspect, the mental game collapses. With it, they’re #EnRoutetoParis.


CBS Sports Network will cover only the U.S. Women’s National Teams pool play games and crossovers. The full event can be streamed on Watch.Hockey.


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