The Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 will feature teams from all five continental federations including teams from Africa, North and South America, Asia, Europe and the Oceania. Here is a full round up of the teams you can expect to see at the upcoming men's and women's event that will take place in just five days! It will be 76 matches, 14 competition days and lots and lots of hockey action!
Africa has dual representation with both South Africa men and women as the sole teams from the continent. Both teams qualified as continental champions, and the men come into the tournament ranked 12th, while the women are ranked one place higher in 11th. A welcomed returning member of the men's squad is the drag-flick specialist Justin Reid-Ross.
The Americas, both north and south, are represented in The Hague. The USA women's team earned their place through the World League Semi-Final, while Argentina are the reigning champions. Argentina’s men's team qualified as continental champions of Pan America. With the talents of Luciana Aymar and the supporting cast of world-class talent, there is little doubt that Las Leonas are among the favourites to win the women's event.
Asia has good representation with five nations playing in the two competitions. Korea have a men's and a women's team in contention. Korea men, ranked 7th, qualified as continental champions, while the women, against the odds, lost out to Japan in the Asia Cup but secured their place when they finished third in the Hockey World League Semi Final.
With a world ranking of 13, Malaysia are the lowest ranked team in the men's competition and they appear courtesy of a fifth-place at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals. Finishing in sixth place in that same tournament was India and the 8th-ranked team will be hoping that this edition of the World Cup will provide the springboard they need to become a major force in world hockey once more. Japan became continental champions of Asia in 2013 when they beat the higher-ranked Korea team. The Cherry Blossoms are ranked 9th in the world, but have a propensity to surprise higher-ranked rivals. The fifth nation representing Asia is the China women's team. The team has a world ranking of seven and come into the tournament courtesy of a fourth place in the Hockey World League Semi-Final.
Europe has the highest number of representation, including the top-ranked women's team, The Netherlands, and the 2nd to 5th ranked men's teams – namely Germany, Netherlands, England and Belgium.
The Netherlands teams both qualified as hosts, and both teams will be disappointed with anything less than a spot in the finals. Germany is a nation whose teams will always perform on the big stage. For this edition, both the men and the women qualified as continental champions of Europe.
England are another nation with medal hopes for both genders, the women qualified when they finished second at the Investec World League Semi-Final, while the men came third in the equivalent event. Belgium men caused ripples when they beat Australia to win the Hockey World League Semi-Final to qualify, while the Red Panthers, qualified by virtue of sixth place in the Hockey World League Semi-Final. The final European nation is Spain men. Ranked 10th, Spain is a team packed with quality but short on international experience.
The fifth continent contains two nations who both feel they have genuine medal prospects. Australia men come into the competition as world number 1 and reigning champions. They qualified as the continental champions of Oceania and the added incentive to do well is coach Ric Charlesworth's imminent retirement. The women's team is currently ranked fourth in the world, they also qualified as the continental champions and they will be looking for their first World Cup success since 1998.
The sixth-ranked Black Sticks men qualified via a fourth place finish at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Rotterdam. The New Zealand women's team also gained qualification via a fourth place at the Hockey World League Semi-Final. They narrowly missed out on a major medal at the 2012 Olympic Games and are a team on the up.
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