Pool D at this years Women's World Cup in London is perhaps the most interesting of all groups, because it includes an emerging Asian power, the team I think is the second favourite to win the hole tournament behind the all powerful Netherlands, and two old rivals from the southern hemisphere. So some good argue that this will be a very tough group to emerge from. Lets have a closer look the teams are-
- New Zealand
- Japan are the new emerging power in women's hockey in the Asian region and will be tough to beat in this group, they want to have a good performance here to establish there creditials ahead of when they host the Olympic Hockey tournament in Tokyo in 2020. However at this stage in there development I am not sure that against this opposition in the group they will be able to emerge from it as the second qualify, there best hope is that one of the other three is having an off World Cup.
- Belgium for me are the team that will top this group, they are the new power hose emerging in Europe behind the Dutch, which they showed when they made the final against Alysson Annan's Netherlands at last years European Championships, only to lose then. But they were on that occasion a young developing team, a year on from that, I think they are going to be very hard to beat. I expect them to top this group and go deep into the tournament.
- New Zealand are always a tough team to beat, and they did win the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, but I am not convinced and haven't been for sometime. Dont get me wrong Mark Hager has bought the New Zealand Blacksticks women on in leaps and bounds since he went there, but I feel that they he has reached his ceiling as there coach and cant take them any further, and that at World Cups and Olympics they are going to start to struggle. Just cant see them being in the mix this time round.
- Australia for me are the team here that will finish second in the group and may even top the group, they have turned the corner under Paul Guidon and are coming back to the strength that they were in the 1990's when they won two olympics and two world cups amongst other titles in that period. While I still think Tokyo is going to be there crowning glory when they return to the top, I do belive they will go deep into this tournament and with some luck may even find themselves in the final.
So this is the way I think it will go in Pool D-
1. Belgium (First)
2. Australia (Second)
3. Japan (Third)
4. New Zealand (Fourth)
So the teams that I believe we go through to become the Quater finalist at the 2018 Women's World Cup are-
In the next article we will look at possible match-ups and I will play out who I think will go onto win this years Women's World Cup and why I think this will happen.