With just 24 hours until the first match of the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup gets underway, the sense of excitement among players, organisers and spectators is palpable. We meet two players who know just what it feels like to win the coveted trophy.
Jamie Dwyer was part of the all-conquering Australia team, who beat Germany in the final by a narrow 2-1 scoreline, while Las Leona’s Carla Rebecchi knows just what it feels like to lift the cup and celebrate before a passionate and unbelievably noisy home crowd after Argentina won 3-1 against the Netherlands.
For the Kookaburras it had been a long wait; a gap of 24 years ended with a 2-1 victory over defending champions Germany, with Luke Doerner scoring the winning goal from a penalty corner 11 minutes from the end. This was a case of third time lucky for the Kookaburras as they had lost out to Germany in the finals in 2006 and 2002. Doerner, and Germany’s goal scorer Moritz Fuerste, will not be present at this edition of the World Cup, but Edward Ockenden, who put the Kookaburras ahead in that match is one of the returning World Cup holders.
Another returning hero from 2010 is Australia’s Jamie Dwyer. The Australian, who has more than 315 caps to his name and has been FIH Player of the Year on five occasions, spoke of his joy that day: “Winning the World Cup in 2010 was a dream come true. World Cup tournaments are the best hockey tournaments ever and I can’t wait for this one to start.”
For Carla Rebecchi and her Argentinian team mates, the 2010 World Cup was an unbelievable statement of just how dominant a team can be. Unbeaten in the group stages, Argentina conceded just three goals in the entire competition, and the main story to emerge from the World Cup centred around the brilliance of Las Leonas and their talisman Luciana Aymar. Carla says: “Winning the World Cup again would be a dream. It will be incredible if we are able to repeat what we achieved in Rosario in 2010.”
With Ric Charlesworth preparing to make his exit from the world hockey stage there is nothing the men in gold and green would like better than to give him a golden send-off, and the women of Argentina would love to make it a double Dutch defeat, but there is a lot of exciting hockey action, and no doubt some real surprises, between now and 15 June when two new world champions will be crowned.