Sunday, July 21, 2024

Women’s Hockey World Cup: ‘A huge opportunity for England this summer’

Compared to the build-up of our home tournament in 2018, the 2022 Women’s World Cup has come round quite quickly. With the Olympics being delayed a year, everything has seemed closer together, but the excitement levels still couldn’t be greater as we headed out to the Netherlands on Monday.

Anything can happen at a World Cup. Look what happened in London, no one would have guessed Ireland would reach the final. For us, we haven’t played a tournament as England and no team has played proper competition since Tokyo. 

There will be the favorites but teams come out of the woodwork, while we haven’t seen Australia and New Zealand in action.

In the Pro League, not all teams played full strength teams, trying different players and ways of playing. The unknown makes it that bit more exciting and anyone can win on their day.

It is a challenge for us. We have a fantastic programme and the pros outweigh the cons. We don’t train as much as England but you could say we don’t have tournaments as GB because of the Pro League.

Tess Howard is back in action for England women PIC: WORLD SPORT PICS

Because Tokyo was pushed back a year we maybe didn’t have as many retirements as we might have had. That’s been a positive for us.

We’ve tried to extend our squad, too. Last year at the Euros, we were lacking England players and we had to go into the development team and girls playing abroad. We didn’t want to face that again in terms of numbers and wanted to have a bigger squad to pick from.

All in all, we don’t often train as England and that can affect us going into World Cups.

Yet, we have so much talent in the squad and a good variety of experience and fresh faces who can bring something exciting to our play.

It’s been a great opportunity for the new girls coming in and that they’ve experienced a whole batch of matches. Now it’s a responsibility for us as a team to step up in a World Cup situation. 

We can’t wait until the Olympics come around and this is a huge tournament for us. But we can’t think just about the Olympics. It’s a huge opportunity for us this summer.

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