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US Field Hockey set to make Olympic return after missing Tokyo


The U.S. field hockey team is returning to the Olympic Games for the first time since 2016.

The team defeated Japan 2-1 in the semifinals of a last-chance qualification tournament in India on Thursday. The top three finishers in the event will all book tickets to compete in Paris at the Olympics this summer.

The team put up three back-to-back shutouts to advance to the semifinals. That winning streak was at stake against Japan, when the U.S. went down 1-0 in the third quarter. But they equalized seven minutes into the fourth quarter before winning the game.

Had the U.S. lost, they would have had one more chance to qualify in a third-place game against India or Germany. Instead, they finished with a silver medal after a 2-0 loss to Germany.

The U.S. has won just one Olympic medal in field hockey, a bronze medal back in 1984. They placed eighth in the 1988 Seoul Games and didn’t qualify for an Olympics again until 2008 (they automatically qualified as a host nation in 1996).

Three consecutive Olympic Games from 2008 through 2016 featured a best finish of fifth place.

This summer’s Olympic roster will be up to 16 players, with up to three alternates.