Future stars? England's U18 and U21 sides

England U18 Girls team photo

As we head towards the last few test matches for some of our Junior squads, we've put together a summary of their games so far and how they’re all looking before their respective international competitions.

The U18 and U21 squads are each heading towards different tournaments, with the U18s preparing to compete in the EuroHockey Championships and the U21s about to start in the Junior World Cup.

U18 Boys

The U18 Boys are competing in several matches in preparation for the upcoming EuroHockey Championships in Vienna, Austria at the end of July. The boys have played five games so far against two international opponents – Belgium and Germany.

First the boys travelled to Beerschot in Belgium where they played three games in just three days between 2-4 July, and the overall score for the matches was 6-6*. After a disappointing loss in the first game, the U18 side came back fighting and managed two wins over the home team in the following matches. Click here for more details.

After those performances against Belgium, just a week later England went into their next three games against Germany looking to keep up the good work. However, Germany proved to be worthy opponents and showed that there's still some work to be done before the EuroHockey Championships, after getting in 16 goals to England's four. You can read more info about these matches here.

U18 Girls

The Girls’ U18 side are halfway through playing a series of nine test matches against Ireland, Belgium and Germany, with only Germany left to play before the European Championships in Dublin later this month.

From the 5-7 July, England's U18 girls played their first three matches against Ireland – the girls' first international fixture since the Easter Four Nations Tournament. Playing all three matches in Lilleshall over the course of three days, England won their first and last games, drawing the second after a tough Irish side forced them to remain defensive. To read the results, click here.

The following week the girls faced Belgium for three games in Europe, and every game was closely-fought with two draws and a narrow loss in the final game. While the England Girls' strategies and tactics were changed after half-time in order to keep the opposition guessing, Belgium proved to be up to the challenge. Click here to read what Head Coach Andy Bradshaw had to say about the matches after the weekend was over.

More about the EuroHockey Championships

The EuroHockey Youth Nations Championships is an annual tournament for national age group teams that takes place each summer. The U16 and U18 competitions alternate so that each takes place every second year.

The Boys EuroHockey U18 Championship will be held in Vienna, Austria from July 22-28. The 8 teams are split in to two pools; Pool A includes Belgium, England, Netherlands and Austria and Pool B includes Spain, France, Germany and Scotland.

The Girls EuroHockey U18 Championship will be held in Dublin, Ireland from July 29th- August 24th. The 8 teams are split in to two pools again; this time Pool A includes Ireland, Wales, France and the Netherlands and Pool B includes Germany, Belgium, Russia and England.

Competition Format:

The Pool stage sees two pools of four teams. After each side has played each other once, the crossover matches begin. The top team in Pool A plays the second top side in Pool B in semi-final 1 while the top side in Pool B takes on the second team in Pool A in semi-final 2 with the winners of each contesting the final and the losers of each competing in the Bronze medal match.

For more information on the EuroHockey Championships, please click here.

U21 Women

The target for the U21 Women’s squad in the Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup which will be held in Mönchengladbach, Germany from July 27-August 4.

First up, the team headed to Cologne between the 23-25 June, where they faced a strong German side. Though England had some chances on the first and last days, Germany put away 11 goals to England's three to win all three games.

After four days' rest the team travelled to Lilleshall where they faced three more tough matches, this time against the Netherlands. While the English side did improve between matches ending on a closely fought 1-2 to the Netherlands, the Dutch side proved themselves too tough to be beaten, netting ten goals by the end of the last day. For more information on the scores and scorers from both the German and Dutch games, click here.

Just a week later the side faced Belgium in Canterbury, and while it was expected to be a series of close contests England were victorious two days out of three, with a loss on the final day. Head Coach Craig Keegan provided an in-depth analysis of the girls’ overall performance, which you can see here.

The team will now move back to Lilleshall for some gruelling fitness based pitch sessions before the Junior World Cup begins.

U21 Men

Following the recent announcement by the FIH that the Junior (Men’s) World Cup will be held in New Dehli from 6-15 December 2013, information regarding the England U21 Men’s Training Squad and Programme, will be announced as soon as possible.

More about the Junior World Cup

The Junior World Cup is held once every four years. There is a 16 team field, which will be split into four pools of four teams each. Following the preliminary round robin, teams will either move into a placement round for the bottom eight finishers or onto a quarterfinal, semi-final and final round. In total, every team is guaranteed six games.

England have been drawn in Pool D and will face tough opposition from Germany, Belgium and Spain.

To view the Hockey Junior World Cup Women’s Schedule click here.