Amsterdam — Speedster Ellie Rayer says England are out to banish their Women’s World Cup hoodoo when they start their campaign on Sunday for a first medal in 12 years.
England play India in Amsterdam, with matches against China and New Zealand to follow over a gruelling five days.
The World Cup will be staged across two countries for the first time. England will be based at the 10,000-capacity Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam, while later knock-out matches will be staged in Terrassa, venue of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
The change from Great Britain to England after an Olympic cycle has proved difficult since the introduction of the Bisham Abbey central programme before London 2012.
The large player turnover and Olympic focus has left England without a medal since winning bronze in 2010.
They finished a poor 11th in 2014 and exited at the quarter-final stages in London four years ago. Conversely, all-conquering Holland have won eight of the last 15 World Cups.
Rayer, who shone with GB at Tokyo 2020, said: “We will be going out there to redeem ourselves.
“It was disappointing how we finished in London and it was almost like we let people down with the full crowds.”
England were dealt a blow on the eve of the tournament when rising star Flora Peel picked up an injury in the build-up this week, and has been replaced in the squad by Darcy Bourne.
Experienced defender Giselle Ansley told The Hockey Paper this week that focus under new coach David Ralph has turned to a more attack-minded brand of hockey.
She said: “We are traditionally built on a strong defence and hard to beat. Now it’s about combining that with attacking and forward-flowing hockey.
“Every coach does it differently. Ralphy tries to convey his energy onto the pitch, especially when we are lacking. He’s desperate for us to do well and play well.”
After missing Tokyo, the tenacious Tess Howard is back in the squad after a lengthy spell recovering from an ACL.
“If we produce what we know we can, that you’ve seen in glimpses over the past few months, we will be able to beat any team at the World Cup,” she told i this week.
“You see us having glimpses of really good stuff and then dropping off, so if we play the full 60 minutes at the tempo we can then we’ll be unstoppable.”