By Daniel Etchells

China got the better of hosts South Africa to earn a place in the final against France ©FIHChina's men pulled off a shock semi-final win against hosts South Africa at the Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 event in Cape Town.

Goals from Liu Yixian and Sun Long secured a 2-0 win against the tournament favourites, ranked 15 places higher than China in the International Hockey Federation world rankings, and guaranteed that the Asian nation will feature in the HWL Olympic qualifier phase.

China, ranked 28th in the world, will now face France in tomorrow's final after the team ranked 10 places above them beat Egypt 5-2 thanks to goals from Guillaume Deront, Jean-Laurent Kieffer, Olivier Sanchez and brothers Hugo and Tom Genestet.

Before the final, South Africa and Egypt will contest a hugely significant third-place play-off as they battle to secure a passage through to the HWL Olympic qualifier phase along with the two finalists.

The three highest finishers in the eight-team tournament are each guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals of the HWL, where places at Rio 2016 are up for grabs.

Six of the nine semi-final places available in Round Two have already been taken with Malaysia, Poland and Japan qualifying from the tournament in Singapore earlier this year, and Ireland, Austria and Canada securing their passage in San Diego earlier this week. 

The Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo in Buenos Aires has been chosen to host the HWL semi-finals from June 3 to 14, with the top four teams advancing to December's final in Mohali, India.

Poland's women edged out Malaysia to book their place in the final against India ©FIHPoland's women edged out Malaysia to book their place in the final against India ©FIH

Meanwhile, in the women's competition India thrashed opponents Thailand 5-0 to justify their position as tournament favourites in New Delhi.

Jaspreet Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Poonam Rani, Rani Rampal and Amandeep Kaur all got their names on the scoresheet to set up tomorrow's final against Poland, who beat Malaysia 1-0 in the other last four encounter.

A successfully converted third-minute penalty corner from team captain Marlena Rybacha proved to be enough for the Poles, as they followed up their quarter-final win against Russia with another victory against higher-ranked opposition.

India and Poland are now certain to advance to the HWL Olympic qualifier phase, and will join Italy and Uruguay who secured their progression at last month's Round 2 event in Montevideo.

The other three places on offer will be taken up by the top two finishers at the Round 2 event in Dublin, which gets underway today and concludes on March 22, and the highest ranked third placed finisher from the three events.

Thailand and Malaysia meet in tomorrow's third-place play-off knowing their hopes of reaching the next phase of the HWL are over, with Azerbaijan, third in Montevideo, ranked higher than them both. 

Azerbaijan will learn their fate after the completion of the Round 2 event in Dublin.

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