For many coaches and players the past few weeks and months have been tense and stressful as the coaches have been pondering their team selections and the players have been either doing their utmost to impress or working hard in the rehabilitation room to win the battle for fitness before one of the biggest fortnights in the hockey calendar.
One major loss to the home side is the failure of Bob de Voogd to recover from a hamstring injury in time for selection. His coach, Paul van Ass said it was a "difficult decision, but at some point you have to be definitive."
England have been plagued by injury of late, but Bobby Crutchley will have been relieved to be able to finally pen Dan Shingles and Henry Weir's names on the team sheet. Weir, who writes a column in the Wimbledon Guardian wrote: "I underwent an intensive six-week rehabilitation course which involved hyperbaric therapy, and meant 14 consecutive days of 90-minute sessions in an oxygen chamber. It’s really claustrophobic and uncomfortable – you wear a mask and it’s like being in a tiny submarine."
Another player who will be relieved to have finished rehabilitation is Germany's Moritz Furste. The former FIH Player of the Year has played 212 times for his country, but fell just shy of making the line-up. Coach Markus Weise has mainly gone for experience, but newcomer Niklas Wellen, who has only played four times for the senior team, has been rewarded for his outstanding performances in last year's Junior World Cup, while reigning FIH Young Player of the Year Christopher Ruhr is set to make his World Cup debut.
South Africa's drag flick specialist will also be pleased to be included in the squad. Justin Reid-Ross was never taking selection for granted as he has not played for his country since 2012, taking time to build his own business and write an intriguing blog http://myineloquence.blogspot.co.uk, which covers diverse subjects such as indie music, coffee, food and drag-flicking.
The next generation are well represented in The Hague. Belgium have selected Arthur van Doren and Emmanuel Stockbroekx, 19 and 21-years old respectively, while two of India's forwards, Ramandeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah, have only 11 caps each. Australia's next generation is encapsulated in the 21-year-old frame of Jeremy Hayward. His selection marks another milestone in an exciting few months. Having played for the Australian Under 21 side at the Junior World Cup in December 2013, Jeremy made his senior international debut just last month in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup campaign, scoring three goals.
At the other end of the scale, both Malaysia and New Zealand are in the race for the player with the most caps. On 320 is the Black Sticks Phil Burrows, but leading the way on 336 is Malaysia's captain Azlan Misron. Both Korea's Seok Kyo Shin and Argentina's Carlos Retegui are putting experience at the heart of their squads. The Argentine squad contains 11 players with more than 100 caps, with second goalkeeper, Agustin Abratte the only player to be on single figure caps (4). Korea has gone even further: The most uncapped player in the squad is Seung Hoon Lee, who has 71 caps for his country. The team has a combined total of 2,633 caps going into the World Cup.
Full team lists will be available HERE.
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