England Hockey Women’s Head Coach Danny Kerry has named his 18 athlete squad for the forthcoming BDO FIH World Cup in Rosario, Argentina.
Kerry elected not to make any changes to the squad that finished an excellent third at the Champions Trophy on home turf in Nottingham last month, beating eventual winners and BDO FIH World Cup hosts Argentina, China and Germany en route to the podium.
Explaining the selection, he said: “The squad selected represents many months of training and matches. Individuals’ performances at the Samsung FIH Champions Trophy have been a factor but the bulk of the work was done many months prior to that tournament. With 13 of the squad under the age of 25 there is a good cohort there with the potential to see at least another World Cup in 2014. Equally, those with Olympic and World Cup experience already will prove invaluable as we make our way through the rigours of seven matches in 11 days.
“The BDO FIH World Cup in Rosario will, I believe, be a real highlight in all our hockey careers,” added Kerry. “The passion and enthusiasm of the crowds in Argentina is a sight to behold and we all look forward to the fervour of the event. I am sure this will prove invaluable experience to those striving for a place in the Great Britain team for the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
Among the players selected is Reading forward Alex Danson, who, having played in the first of the two test matches against the USA last week, now has 99 England appearances to her name and could reach a century in the team’s opening World Cup clash with Spain on Sunday 29 August.
England, ranked sixth in the world, have been drawn in Pool B of the BDO FIH World Cup where they will fight it out with Argentina (#2), China (#3), Spain (#8), Korea (#11) and South Africa (#12).
The Netherlands (#1), Germany (#4), Australia (#5), New Zealand (#7), Japan (9th) and India (#13) make up Pool A.
Speaking about the sides England will face in Argentina, Kerry explained; “Our pool is an interesting mix. Spain has a cultural and language affinity with Argentina and I know they are expecting to be the second most supported team behind Argentina. We haven’t played Spain in over a year and it will be interesting to see their development in that time.
“Our next match against China will be tough. Their tournament in Nottingham was poor by their Olympic silver medal standards and our games are traditionally very tight. They will be looking to reverse the win we had against them in the last World Cup.
“I am glad we are playing Korea third as it is difficult to get footage of them and we have not seen them play since Beijing; even then they were in the opposite pool. They have great exponents at the penalty corner, brilliant core skills and lightning quick counter-attacks. South Africa has a new coach and again it is good we are playing them later in the tournament. They are traditionally a well organised group with great set-pieces.
“Our final match is against Argentina. The world’s best ever player Luciana Aymar hails from Rosario and she is an icon in her nation. Given the passion of the support and what could rest on that game I personally look forward to that match as a sporting moment of a lifetime.”
England has competed in each of the last seven World Cups since their first appearance in 1983, recording a best ever finish of fourth place, a position they achieved in Sydney in 1990. More recently, England finished fifth in 2002 and seventh four years ago in Madrid when goals from Chloe Rogers and Rachel Walker helped the side to a 2-1 victory over Germany in the classification match.
Team England: Ashleigh Ball, Charlotte Craddock, Crista Cullen, Alex Danson, Susie Gilbert, Gemma Ible, Katie Long, Hannah Macleod, Helen Richardson, Chloe Rogers, Natalie Seymour, Beth Storry, George Twigg, Laura Unsworth, Kate Walsh, Sally Walton, Nicola White, Kerry Williams.
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