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Nov. 28, 2017 — Four groups, four personalities for the FIH Women’s World Cup

It may be a little early to guess how the new format of the FIH Women’s World Cup will affect competition amongst the 16 teams which have already qualified.

That’s because a team’s run of form between now and next July 21st won’t be reflected in a team’s world rankings, and, therefore, not reflected in the serpentine assignment of teams in their groups.

The assignments are a bit different this time around. For the first time, the league portion of the Hockey World Cup will feature four groups rather than two, and teams will play just three group matches, meaning that a quick start is absolutely essential for a team wishing to make an impact.

The four groups have distinct personalities. Group A has Holland, Japan, and Korea along with Italy. Amongst the first three, anyone of these side could win the tournament, so I believe this is the Group of Death.

Group B features England and Ireland, plus the United States and India, two nations who fought for their independence from England in the last quarter-millenium. England will have plenty of stars from the Team GB side which won last year’s Olympics, and should be looking to bounce back from a fourth-place finish at the World League.

Group C has two challengers from the Southern Hemisphere in South Africa and Argentina, as well as Germany and Spain. Argentina, depending on the side it fields next summer, should handle up this group, given the Albicelestes’ dominant 4-1 and 4-0 wins over the Germans earlier this month at World League.

Group D is all about Oceania, as New Zealand and Australia should top the group. Vying for semifinal placement from this group will be Japan and Belgium.

But a lot can happen in the next eight months. Let’s see what the competitive landscape looks like when the teams assemble in London.

 

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