England menís squad named for World League

Dan Shingles in action for England against Scotland NOW Pensions

Ahead of their first game tomorrow England Men’s Head Coach Bobby Crutchley has named the final 18 athletes for the FIH World League Semi Final in Malaysia. The competition takes place from 29 June – 7 July 2013 and features eight top class international teams including Olympic gold medallists Germany.

England have been drawn in Pool B and will face South Africa tomorrow - Saturday 29 June - at 14:00 (UK time). Ranked at number four in the FIH world rankings, England will be favourite on paper to top their group, but they will no doubt face tough opposition from Pakistan, South Africa and hosts Malaysia who sit at 5, 12 and 13 respectively.

There is plenty at stake for Crutchley’s side as a top three finish will guarantee England a place at next year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague.

Follow every England game live via the FIH You Tube channel, click here to find out more. You can keep up with England’s progress by visiting englandhockey.co.uk and there will be updates from the team on England Hockey’s official You Tube channel throughout the week.

Following the final selection and the reduction of the team down from 20 to 18 athletes, the unfortunate two who will not take part in the tournament are Sheffield Hallam’s Phil Roper and Loughborough Students’ David Condon.

Click here to see the final squad.

Crutchley’s team has had a challenging build up to Saturday’s first match. As has widely been reported, smoke from large-scale forest fires in Indonesia has been drifting east and negatively affecting the air quality in Malaysia and Singapore. Following the team’s arrival in Johor Bahru, the decision was made to move the team to Kuala Lumpur to enable them to train in more suitable conditions. Following a favourable change in wind direction, and movement of the smog, the team returned to Johor Bahru on Wednesday to make their final preparations.

Despite losing a training match to Korea 2-1 on Wednesday evening, Crutchley has been pleased with the way his team has coped with the exceptional circumstances. “In spite of the upheaval of the last few days the team have gelled really well and shown great resolve dealing with the difficulties of moving camps and having restricted training opportunities. We are now settled here [Johor Bahru] looking forward to our game against South Africa on Saturday.”

Visit the official FIH World League Semi Final page here; it has the full schedule and live score updates throughout the tournament.

Follow the team's performance on twitter: @englandhockey #NOWhockey

As the men’s semi final gets underway the women’s Investec World League Semi Final is drawing to a close with the final two days of competition coming up.

England have lined up a semi-final against Olympic silver medallists Argentina tomorrow at 17:30 at Chiswick. Come down and support them or watch the match live on Sky Sports 4 from 17:00. Visit englandhockey.co.uk for more information.