This years Women's Hockey World Cup in London from the 25th of July to the 5th of August is going to be one of the most exciting World Cups in resent memory, with an increase in the number of team competing for the first time in a long time. Over the next few weeks, Field Hockey Sticks USA will have a indepth look at the teams who have qualified for this event, and the groups they are in, and predict who might emerge as the group winners.
The first group we will look at is Pool A, this group contains two teams from the Asian Zone and two teams from the European Zone. These teams are-
- Breaking this group down I think the Netherlands are clearly the stand out team, they are the most resent European Champions and the silver medalists from the Rio Olympics as well as the defending champion. The Alysson Annan Coach Netherlands are a well drilled team and will top the group. It is hard to see how the Netherlands will not factor at the pointy end of the World Cup when the medals are being handed out.
- Korea have in the past been one of the strongest teams in the World having appeared in two Olympic finals in 1988 and 1996 finishing on both occasions runner up to Australia. However since then things have not been as good for Korea and the key game at this World Cup will be against China on July 29 assuming they have taken care of business against Italy before that, if they are to emerge as the second team to qualify from this group for the quater finals. However if that happens its hard to see them going much further than that.
- China are perhaps the team most likely to vie with Korea for second place in this group, and as above the game on July 29 will be vital for them again assuming they have beaten Italy before that. China in the past have been strong and the weak, then strong again, its hard to know what this team will be like. If they do qualify for the Quater Finals I am not sure they will go much further than that, but again they could surprise.
- Italy are the surprise packet here, they were not expected to qualify, but after managing to come through the qualification process with some surprise results against more fancied opponents here they are. The interesting thing is they have had reasent draws against both China and Korea, which means that they could well surprise in this group and emerge behind the Netherlands as the second qualifier. Again if they do its perhaps likely that this will be the end of the run as they will face more fancied opponents in the quater finals that will make sure thats where the run ends.
So the final prediction for this Pool A is
Next week we will have a Pool B where the USA finds itself.