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2022 FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup: Teams start descending on Terrassa, Amstelveen

16 teams divided into four groups of four teams each will compete in the prestigious event for women. Both Terrassa and Amstelveen will host two groups each.

Thirty years after it played host to the 1992 summer Olympic games, Terrassa will be back in action as one of the co-hosts of the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup from July 1 to 17.

Amstelveen, the other host city, has already earned a reputation of being a favourite hockey destination as it played host to a number of the FIH Pro League games this year.

Meanwhile, teams have started arriving at both the host cities before the action unfolds in less than a fortnight from now.

New Zealand has become the first non-European to descend in Europe for the World Cup. Though other non-European teams like India, Argentina, China and USA are  also  in Europe but their presence is because of their FIH Pro League commitments.

In all 16 teams divided in four groups of four teams each will compete in the prestigious event for women. Both Terrassa and Amstelveen will host two groups each.

Participating in a World Cup is the pinnacle of any athlete’s career and for the nations conveying in Amsterdam and Terrassa in just over two week’s time, things couldn’t get much more exciting.

Speaking to FIH, New Zealand’s Megan Hull said: ‘We honestly just can’t wait. We haven’t had a whole lot of international Test matches over the last few years because of COVID. Everyone is just so excited. We’re really looking forward to putting up some good competition results and getting onto it.’

The New Zealand Black Sticks arrived in Spain in the middle of June, their first time in Europe for three years.

Head Coach to England women, David Ralph, acknowledged that the weeks leading up to selection are tough for the players as they wait to hear if they have made the 18-player squad.

‘We are delighted to announce the squad of players selected to represent England this summer. Selection is never an easy situation for the players, and I would like to thank all of them for their efforts during the last few months. Despite the challenges we have faced, they have worked hard and supported each other remarkably well. Congratulations to those selected, who now face a really exciting summer ahead.’

For India, the opportunity to play in the FIH Hockey Pro League this season has proven an immeasurably valuable experience, particularly as the final games are in Europe.

India captain and goalkeeper Savita says: ‘Because of these tournaments a lot of players got the chance to play at the highest level against good opposition, irrespective of their position and experience. Our priority was to give players opportunities in the Pro League. Thanks to the Pro League we now know how to come back if something didn’t work in the previous game. These things will definitely help us in the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games,’

For many of the teams, the previous international tournament, aside from the FIH Hockey Pro League, was the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Following that event, many players decided it was time to retire from the national team.

For Belgium it is a very different story. The Red Panthers didn’t qualify for the Olympic Games and so they have been building for the World Cup for two or three years, as Michelle Struijk explained in her recent interview.

‘If you compare us to other teams, this year was different for us because we’ve been preparing already for two-three years for this World Cup – since missing out on the Olympics – while other teams actually have more like the start of a new cycle.’

With just a few days before the event bursts into glorious action, the athletes and coaching staff are making their final preparations, with many teams already heading towards Amsterdam or Terrassa in readiness for their Pool games.

Prabhjot Singh

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