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We have had the entree courtesy of the Football World Cup, now it is time for the main. The Women’s Hockey World Cup. Being an active Hockey player myself, I am obviously biased, however, this is an event that you can’t miss. For those who aren’t aware what I am going on about let me take you through what to expect at this year’s tournament.
How does it work?
This is the first time that the tournament has had 16 participating nations before. The first round of action sees the sixteen teams split out over four groups. The winner of each of those four groups, each book themselves a place in the quarterfinals. There is a predetermined format, with the winners of Groups A and D going to the top half of the draw and the winners of Groups B and C going to the bottom half of the draw.
The second and third place teams from each of the groups go into a playoff round. A winner of a playoff match, then goes through to face one of the teams who qualified automatically for the quarterfinals. So those who finish as a group winner ultimately have an advantage of having to play a game less. From the quarterfinals, it is then a straightforward knockout going forward.
Where is it?
— Joie Leigh (@joie_leigh) June 11, 2017
The 14th edition takes place in London, England. It is being held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre the same venue as the 2012 Olympics took place. The nearest station is Stratford or Leyton. It is taking place from 21st July – 5th August. A few tickets still available on the website, under 18’s cost as little as £1 and Adults £10. With school holidays in full flow and London being gorged with stunning weather it makes for an ideal family day out.
Who are the favourites?
The Dutch remains the team to watch. The Netherlands is the top seed in the tournament and will be favourites again this year. They won the 2016/17 FIH Hockey World League, beating China in the final and currently hold the EuroHockey Nations Championship. So clearly a side looking to add to their hefty trophy cabinet.
Similar to the men’s side, the Argentineans are a team you can never discount. Argentina has won two of the last four editions of the World Cup and the other two occasions they finished third. Argentina is relentless in their work rate and can be a real handful for whoever they come up against. With current World Player of the year Delfina Merino at their disposal they’re definitely a team to be feared in London.
What are England’s chances?
Great Britain currently holds the Olympic crown having come through nervy penalty shuffles with the Netherlands. This time, they’re playing as England (all the players at Rio were English anyway), and they start the competition ranked second in the world. This England side should definitely force themselves into the mix by the time the tournament rolls around.
If prior World Cups are to go by, the hosts of the last two editions of the tournament go on and win the event on their respective home soil. Is this an omen? England no longer has inspirational captain Kate Richardson-Walsh in their ranks. Although, this is an extremely talented side and should have enough quality to progress to the later stages of the tournament.
As Hockey takes over London for a few weeks, why not find a local club near you or find your own pitch and play with friends. Allow MyLocalPitch to give you that helping hand.
BY - George Tipper
24 July 2018