England women's squad named for Argentina
Ahead of the Argentina Hockey World League Final in San Miguel de Tucumán, England Head Coach Jason Lee has named his squad of 18 athletes who will compete from 30 November – 8 December.
The squad contains only one change from that which brought home a European silver medal this summer. After recovering from a thumb injury, which kept her out of the European squad, forward Sophie Bray has been called back into the squad. Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft is the athlete who misses out on this occasion. After suffering ligament damage to her ankle during the semi-final of the EuroHockey Championships Sally Walton is also named in the squad.
England Head Coach Jason Lee reflected on the summer’s success and the competition for a spot in the final 18: “The squad is largely unchanged from that which competed at the Investec World League Semi Final and the Europeans during the summer where the group performed really well, gaining silvers on both occasions. There is certainly a lot of competition for places from the wider squad so the selection was extremely competitive.”
He added a note of concern, commenting: “A number of the players are coming back from injury so we may have to change the selection in the coming weeks if any start to struggle with form or fitness. The squad have been training very hard over recent months and this bodes well for a great showing in Argentina.”
England Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh added: “We’re looking forward to continuing the momentum we’ve built throughout 2013 and are excited to take on the world's best at Argentina Hockey World League Final.”
England have been drawn in Pool A, alongside Olympic Champions the Netherlands, European Champions Germany and world number eight side Korea. The Pool will no doubt pose some tough challenges from all teams, but on paper England’s biggest threat will come from the Netherlands. The world number one side will be looking for revenge after the last time they met when England clinched victory in the EuroHockey Championships Semi-Final. Following the victory they met fellow Pool A rivals Germany who they agonisingly lost to in a penalty shoot out in the Final. England’s other opponents, Korea, might be the lowest ranked side in the pool, but after finishing third in their World League Semi Final with a victory over number three side New Zealand they are sure to be no push-over.
In the other Pool, hosts Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and China will battle it out for top spot to ensure a favourable Quarter-Final match against Pool A opponents.
England play in the opening match of the Argentina Hockey World League Final against Korea on 30 November at 12:00 (UK time). All matches will be streamed live on the FIH YouTube Channel.