Monday, August 15, 2022

Women’s Hockey World Cup shirts: Squad kits ranked and rated

Four years ago, we gritted our teeth and requested all 16 nations’ home and away kits in a bid to rank the 2018 World Cup’s finest strips. By hook or by crook, we got there in the end. For the 2022 Women’s World Cup we again sent out a missive and, with thanks to the FIH, have been able to give you most of the kits which will be on show over the next two weeks.

The opening match will see hosts Spain taking on Canada, on July 1, in Terrassa. Full fixtures and match schedule is here.

All our FIH World Cup coverage is here

So, once again, we reveal our combined verdict on this year’s batch.

16. CHINA

Unlike 2018, we are unsure what China’s final World Cup strip will look like, but safe to assume it will be their traditional red and yellow on show. One thing’s for sure, it will be unlikely that the 2022 version will veer away from previous efforts. The V-neck remains and the red and yellow kit stability underpins China’s stern defence, more so now that Alyson Annan has entered the fray.

15. NEW ZEALAND

There’s no doubting which nation dons the all-black strip. The Commonwealth champions head closer to defending their title via a World Cup campaign with what looks less ‘All Black’ and more unnecessary splattered art work on their traditional, distinctive top. The all-white strip markings are less apparent, but a nice addition to their World Cup combo all the same.

14. CANADA

No messing, clean and sleek black and white World Cup effort from the tournament underdogs, especially given the likely energy-sapping conditions in Spain. No sponsor steals the show here – Canada are used to crowdfunding to effectively pay to play – and they will hope to be all white on the night in following the men and playing the sport’s pinnacle event for the first time in 28 years, as well as a return to where the women’s side played the 1992 Olympics in Terrassa.

13. SOUTH KOREA

A tried and tested Korean combo for the Asian outfit. There are no obvious turnovers to the home and away kit, but for a change of sponsor, the cut off sleeve and incorporating the Korean flag colours below the neckline, which still makes for one of the most distinctive designs out there.

12. CHILE

Women’s World Cup newbies, the Devils have opted for traditional light red and blue singlet as befitting of their national flag. Chile will aim to be no slouches with a sponsor, in mattress outfit Rosen, adorning their kits, which has been well put together by Grays.

11. BELGIUM

The rankings risers have gone in for some subtle changes to their home and away shirt, notably in the flag colours around the neck and top arm lines. This effort has strayed from the black line additions from past strips and those changes give the kit an extra edge this time.

10. ENGLAND

A return to darker red and the adidas lines down the shirt sides, from the team looking to atone for their knock-out exit at London 2012. The home red and blue is classic England attire for continental competition, although the white and red does bring back memories of England’s last World Cup on Dutch soil when they finished 11th in 2014. The kit does win the branding stakes, with five on show.

9. INDIA

Another nation which didn’t respond to kit requests, but it is likely that India will present the light blue and all white with dashes of the Indian flag for their two World Cup items. Odisha once again splashes into view, as does the standout ‘India’ font, making for a highly presentable set of shirts.

8. GERMANY

The Hockey Paper came in for plenty of criticism when we ranked Germany last for our 2018 ratings. But someone must have been listening, for Die Danas have returned to a clean, sharper, almost retro look with the ‘faded floodlight’ look present on both shirts. The white and black combo once again shows that Germany mean business.

7. SPAIN

Spain will hope to ride out the pressure of co-hosting by donning their traditional red and white all the way until the final on July 17. The kite like graphic and horizontal line across the kit’s top half is a neat addition, while sponsors Iberdrola continue to support women’s sport in Spain, with the hope of seeing the Reds add to their World Cup bronze last time out.

6. AUSTRALIA

The Hockeyroos’ yellow sleeveless design is to the fore once more for the 2022 World Cup squad. In addition and a departure from the away blue, Hockey Australia have opted for the red Indigenous playing strip which was launched in 2020 and designed by Nova Peris, a dual Olympian, gold medallist, Young Australian of the Year, talented artist, former Hockeyroo and Federal Senator, as well as proud Aboriginal and Australian. It makes for a powerful dual strip.

5. IRELAND

Classic green and white from top to toe for the Green Army. Same sponsor which adorned the shirts for their run to the 2018 final, this time the adidas three strips feature and make for a superb streamlined version. Their ranking is further bolstered, given Hockey Ireland’s continued promotional use of the strips ahead of the World Cup.

4. ARGENTINA

Unfortunately the Argentinian federation never respond to any media requests, but we have at least secured what Las Leonas will be wearing for their World Cup campaign. They stay with the light blue and white verticals for their home look, but gone is the light blue and violet colours for their away kit, instead plumping for dark blue. They recently signed a deal with Under Armour. Solid and standout effort from the World Cup veterans.

3. SOUTH AFRICA

One of the World Cup underdogs will hope to spring a surprise just as their male counterparts did at last summer’s Olympics. They have the kit to do it, the under-the-arm yellow and green design on both home and away playing shirts giving the splash of colour where nothing else is needed. The green and white away design is one of the cleanest of the 16 on show.

2. NETHERLANDS

The World Cup favourites continue the all Oranje theme for their home campaign, with clean and simple design work. Nothing needs to be added, the colour says it all. Their new away addition is something to behold and a winner in our eyes.

  1. JAPAN

Second place in our 2018 rankings, the Cherry Blossoms hit top spot for the 2022 showdown with another similar, but equally splendid World Cup combo. There has been a shift from the Star Trek-like (or rather the traditional Chinese dress – Cheongsam) V-neck look on both shirts, with a design we are unable to coin a fashion phrase or even know the terminology for. But we like it all the same, along with the retro feel of the ‘Team Japan’ logo, the sponsors down the sides and firework-like blossom effects. Top job.

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