Women's FIH Hockey World Cup: What Can Fans Expect?

Author: Jomathews


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Restoration work on the Olympic Stadium in Terrassa in preparation for the World Cup this year – in addition to the prestigious Wagener Stadium – relates to its second renovation since the 1950s. In total, it cost more than 4.5 million euros, including the replacement of the football field with the modern artificial grass. Atop the renovations to make Terrassa a modern venue, officials also upgraded the seating, lockers, and the exterior, making it a facility capable of holding thousands of fans.

The captain of the Spanish national team, Georgina Oliva, who hails from Terrassa, says: “This stadium is spectacular. We always say that Terrassa is the city of hockey. We have a lot of Olympics thanks to hockey. We will try to respond to people with a medal. We are a minority sport, which needs help to move forward and the more people are encouraged to play hockey, the more quality we will gain in the future.”

 

The Teams

There are 16 teams competing in the Women’s FIH Hockey World Cup. The pooling process took place on 17 February in Terrassa, at the Catalonia National Museum of Science and Technology. The 2022 World Cup is set to take place from 1-17 July 2022.

There are four teams in Pool A, starting with the world number one – the defending champions – The Netherlands (FIH World Ranking: 1) who face Ireland (WR: 12) in a replay of the 2018 World Cup final. Among the other teams assigned to the group are Germany (WR: 5) and Chile (WR: 17); the latter are playing at a World Cup for the first time as a country. 

Among the teams in Pool B, England (WR: 3) has the highest ranking, running the odds against India (WR: 9) amid many of them having played against each other at the summer Olympics in the bronze medal match that Great Britain won at the time. New Zealand (WR: 8) and China (WR: 14) are the last two in this group, both of which are playing their ninth World Cup. Dutch Wagener Stadium in the Netherlands will host both pools A and B. 

 

How does the England captain feel about the situation?

Skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb said, “Obviously, we want a medal, that's the aim, but we're just going to have to see how it goes. The Tokyo Olympics being postponed a year has made it very different in terms of our build-up. We've got a relatively new Great Britain squad and then, out of that, we pick an England team. So, it's a very young and exciting team going into this Women’s FIH Hockey World Cup. We’ve probably not had as long together as we would have liked, but that could be a benefit for us because we're still at that kind of exciting stage about our journey. So, we are very much looking forward to it. We would love a medal of course, but at the moment we're just trying to build a game on game.”

The top-ranked team in Pool C will be Argentina (WR: 2) leading the way. Spain will be up against them (WR: 6) just behind their home fans at Terrassa, followed by South Korea (WR: 11) and Canada (WR: 13), the first time they'll play in the World Cup since 1994. 

 Australia (WR: 4) is expected to dominate Pool D. The team aims to win another World Cup trophy following their 1994 and 1998 triumphs. Among the contenders are the rising Red Panthers, Belgium (WR: 7), Japan (WR: 10), and African champions South Africa (WR: 16). 

 

The history of the World Cup 

1974 marked the beginning of the first women’s World Cup, a few years after the first men’s World Cup took place - with the Dutch women’s team winning 1-0 over Argentina.

A hat-trick of World Cup titles has been achieved by the Dutch in 1983, 1986, and 1990, and has led them to become the most successful team at the tournament – aiming to achieve more of this in this Women’s FIH Hockey World Cup

 

The Mascot for the Women’s FIH Hockey World Cup

Featuring a dragon mascot, Lyla, the tournament symbolizes what women in hockey stand for strength, confidence, wisdom, faith, mental vigor, strength, courage, vitality, protection, and majesty.

 

How the teams fare

As a result of their Pro League campaign, Argentinians are in good shape, playing 14 out of 16 planned games, beating all but one against the Dutch, and taking over the Dutch Championship. In the Pro League, the Dutch have been highly competitive and are disappointed to lose their first title since they won at the 2016 Olympics. Despite this, the team has gone through a year where they lost coach Alyson Annan while going through an independent review over a toxic culture. With a new coach, several new players, and some of their top stars rested following a long Hoofdklasse, this upcoming tournament will be productive for the Dutch team.

Across the board, any home country will remain a threat, but their form remains unknown, as they haven't played tournament hockey since the Olympics in 2008. Averting their fourth place in Tokyo is on the to-do list for India, who will be hoping to get a medal at the World Cup, yet there may be several ups and downs, now that Annan has taken over China as head of the team.

In the Pro League, the two biggest threats will be Belgium and Germany, hoping to take off following a lot of rotation of players during the past few seasons. It will be interesting to see how the Belgians perform after excluding themselves from the Tokyo Games last summer.

Goalkeeper Savita leads the Indian team, while deputy goalkeeper Deep Grace Ekka has been appointed. An injury has prevented Rani Rampal from participating in the squad. The leader of the team speaks on Rani's injury and the team composition, chief coach Janneke Schopman said: "Except Rani, who is still not fully recovered from injury rehabilitation, the team has all the players who were part of the Olympic campaign with inclusions like Jyoti and Sonika who have done well in their roles when given a chance. We will also have Sangita and Akshata who will travel with the team as replacement players. The team is absolutely excited and eager to begin their Women’s FIH Hockey World Cup campaign. We will use the next ten days to fine-tune our game analysis from Pro League performances."

 

Observations from the Netherlands Coach

In the weeks leading up to the World Cup, Jamilon Mulders will be the Netherlands' coach, and his team is poised to win its ninth title. “It’s a big thing and lovely to be part of it,” he said. “But it’s not up to me, it’s up to all of us. It’s about managing emotions and expectations and the time on and off the pitch. You need to focus on the internal things which can influence and accept what you can’t influence. We are really looking forward to it. It’s about making sure we have the right team on board who are ready to go." 

“Second of July Wagener Stadium 830, that’s what it's about and then it’s about the performance of the World Cup. I have a lot of confidence in these girls for the World Cup and I’m not worried about it.”

 

Conclusion

There will be 16 teams competing in four pools in the 15th edition of the women's FIH hockey world cup. At the pool stage, each team competes against the other three members of its pool in a round-robin. The winner of each pool advances directly to the quarterfinals. While the four remaining quarter-finalists are determined by the cross-over matches, the next two best teams in each pool will be selected. To determine place classification, each pool's 4th placed team will compete with the losers of the crossovers.

The final round, including the classification, crossovers, and knockout rounds, will consist of 44 matches. The semifinals, third-place playoffs, and final match will be held in Terrassa.


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