The Women’s Indoor World Cup also got underway this morning. With a clean sweep so far from Netherlands and Czech Republic, who will be the ultimate winners? Will it be the German Flag raised again?
Have a look at the FIH preview:
Women – Pool A
Reigning World Champions Germany compete in Pool A alongside Austria, Ukraine, Australia, Canada and Belgium. With the home crowd cheering them on all the way, it comes as no great surprise that Germany (FIH Indoor World Ranking: 1) start the event as tournament favourites. However, the team has to recover from the shock of losing ace striker Lisa Altenburg, who injured her knee in the German indoor championships at the weekend. Altenburg has been replaced by Luisa Steindor, who will come into the event full of confidence after winning the German indoor championship with Düsseldorfer HC. Head Coach Jamilon Mülders feels optimistic about his team’s chances of glory.
“We are really looking forward to the event and happy to be back in the ‘living room’ of German indoor hockey”, said Mülders, before stating that he believed the Netherlands, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland would all be big threats to Germany’s title ambitions. Lena Jacobi, who is co-captain alongside Katharina Otte, was excited about the prospect of once again competing in the Arena Leipzig. “It’s something special to play here. At the EuroHockey Championships two years ago I couldn’t hear a single word because the crowd was so loud.”
Austria (IWR: 4) are expected to be strong contenders in the race to top the pool, although it will be interesting to see how the youthful team cope without legendary player Irene Balek who has retired. Having secured top four finishes in their two previous Indoor World Cup competitions (Vienna 2007 / Poznan 2011), Ukraine (IWC: 5) will certainly be a big threat here in Leipzig, and in team captain Maryna Vynohradova they have one of the most experienced and talented players in the competition. Australia (IWR: 8), lead by team captain Emma McLeish, arrive in Leipzig with a well balanced side and will be determined to finish higher than the 8th place that they achieved in Poznan four years ago.
Canada (IWR: 12) and IWC debutantes Belgium (IWR: 22) are the lowest ranked sides in the pool but will be looking to upset the odds. International umpire Laurine Delforge, who officiated at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague, has been named in the Belgium squad that will compete here in Leipzig.
Women – Pool B
Pool B is expected to be a closely fought contest, with the Netherlands, Belarus, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan and South Africa all in action. 2007 Indoor World Champions the Netherlands (IWR: 2) are expected to be the front-runners and arrive with a strong squad that is likely to challenge for top honours. The team coached by Marieke Dijkstra, who was present at the first three Indoor World Cups as a player, contains some terrific talent, with Kiki Collot D’Escury and Vera Vorstenbosch being two notable names on the team list.
Belarus (IWR: 3) have the potential to push the Netherlands all the way in Pool B, and have arrived here in Leipzig with one of the most experienced squads. 31-year-old team captain Volha Shyntar competes in her fourth successive Indoor World Cup, and will be hoping to guide her team to a place on the podium for the first time after losing the 2011 Bronze medal match to Ukraine.
Czech Republic (IWR: 6) are another team capable of achieving big things at this event. Under the captaincy of Tereza Mejzlikova and guidance of Head Coach Chris Faust, they have developed a team that really could put themselves among the medals.
Poland (IWR: 7) compete in their second Indoor World Cup following a superb fifth place finish on home soil in Poznan four years ago. Kazakhstan (IWR: 16) were participants in 2011, but will be aiming to improve on their last place finish at that event. South Africa’s (IWR: 18) best result at an Indoor World Cup to date was a tenth place finish at the 2003 event here in Leipzig, something that they will be determined to improve upon in their return to the city.
Follow the action!
Website: Full coverage of the events will be available via www.fih.ch with live streaming of key matches from the quarter-final stage being available in most territories.
You Tube: The FIH You Tube channel will become active from the quarter-finals, with match highlights and much more being posted as soon as they become available. To visit our You Tube channel, click the link below:www.youtube.com/fihockey
Social media: FIH will provide comprehensive coverage of the event via our social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: The German Flag was raised for Gold in 2011 (Frank Uijlenbroek (c))