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Women’s Hockey World Cup Strikes It’s game on this July as London hosts the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, the first time one of the biggest hockey events in the world will be hosted in the United Kingdom

Alongside the hosts, Ireland are the other side representing the home nations and will be making their first Hockey World Cup appearance since 2002, having been assured of their place on the back of a strong Hockey World League Campaign. Since the first tournament hosted by France back in 1974, only four teams have won the event. The Netherlands are the most successful team, having won the title seven times. Argentina,

Germany and Australia are the joint second best teams, having each won the title twice. Current holders Netherlands will be looking to add to their record seventh title, having claimed victory in Hague in 2014. On that occasion, The Oranje, as the Dutch team is known, celebrated a win in a stadium full of 15,000 people, the majority of whom were cloaked in orange. England’s women go into this year’s World Cup as one of the favourites with many of their players still on a high after winning Olympic gold for Great Britain at Rio in 2016. Despite not having won the World Cup before, England have been making steady progress in recent years. In addition to their Olympic success, they won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Cup and were the European Champions in 2015.

With world-class players including FIH Hockey Stars Goalkeeper of the Year 2016 Maddie Hinch, Captain Alex Danson and fellow Olympic gold medallists Laura Unsworth, Susannah Townsend and Giselle Ansley within their ranks, they have talent in abundance. Home support will be crucial for the England side if they are to win their first ever World Cup title, and being on home turf should help this. Organisers have said that more than 80,000 tickets have been sold and all three of England’s World Cup group games are sold out, as well as their potential quarter-final and semi-final games and the final. The support for the Women’s Hockey World Cup proves a rising demand in not only the sport of hockey, but also women’s sport. A new study says the event will help push UK women’s sport attendances past the half-a-million barrier in 2018.

What to expect from international hockey •International hockey is an 11-a-side game played over four 15-minute quarters. The use of rolling substitutes and the self-pass rule means the pace of the game is phenomenally quick and dynamic, as well as highly skilful. It is not uncommon for teams to make at least 60 substitutions in a game!

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•The Hockey Women’s World Cup 2018 starts on July 21st and will be shown on BT Sport.

Image source //www.londontown.com/

A total of 16 world-class teams, including England, will be welcomed to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Park. The tournament begins on 21st July with the first match seeing Germany take on Russia, followed by hosts England facing India.

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