After Argentina was confirmed as host nation, it was decided to held the tournament in Buenos Aires in a new stadium built in GEBA's grounds, but the club later refused to organize it due to economical difficulties. The second option had been the Jockey Club de Rosario, venue of the 2014 Champions Trophy, but the local government of Rosario decided instead to built a new stadium with a capacity for 12,000 people with mobile grandstands in Fisherton, a neighbourhood located in the western part of the city.
Each of the continental champions from five federations and the host nation received an automatic berth. The European and Asian federations received two and one extra quotas respectively based upon the FIH World Rankings at the completion of the 2008 Summer Olympics. In addition to the three winners of each of the three Qualifiers, the following twelve teams, shown with final pre-tournament rankings, competed in this tournament.
Twelve teams competed in the tournament with the competition consisting of two rounds. In the first round, teams were divided into two pools of six teams, and played in a round-robin format with each of the teams playing all other teams in the pool once. Teams were awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. At the end of the pool matches, teams were ranked in their pool according to the following criteria in order:
Total points accumulated
Number of matches won
The result of the match played between the teams in question
Following the completion of the pool games, teams placed first and second in each pool advanced to a single-elimination round consisting of two semifinal games, a third place play-off and a final. Remaining teams competed in classification matches to determine their ranking in the tournament. During these matches, extra time of 7½ minutes per half was played if teams were tied at the end of regulation time. During extra time, play followed golden goal rules with the first team to score declared the winner. If no goals were scored during extra time, a penalty stroke competition took place.