England Women at the World Cup

England's Alex Danson challenges with Spain's Xantal Gine

This Sunday England's Women's squad starts their World Cup proper as their first match kicks off at the Kyocera Stadium.

Our women are in Pool B with Argentina, China, Germany and South Africa, and England's ranked the second highest of them all (and third in the world). Argentina's the highest ranked team (according to the FIH World Rankings) in the pool, so their match will likely be the toughest of these first games, and the lowest is South Africa at 11, who England face next Friday.

All times mentioned below are UK time.

England Women start their World Cup against the USA at 12:00 on Sunday 1 June, which is the first time these teams have faced each other in an official international match in almost four years. Alex Danson is the only player from England to have scored in their last five matches that’s still on the team, but as that was back in 2007 it could be anyone who opens up the scoring this time around. However, some of the players from the England squad did face the USA under the guise of Great Britain earlier this year, and with Danson on the scoresheet again we think she’ll be the one to watch in their first match in the Netherlands

Of all the teams in the women’s Pool B, China’s the team that England have played the least, with their match on Tuesday 3 June at 12:00 being only the 18th time these teams have met in a capped match. When they played at the World League Final in Argentina in December last year one Georgie Twigg goal was enough to take the win. Going back to 2009 England have won more than they’ve lost, but with so few games to go by it could be that one goal – as it so often is – could swing the game either way.

Much like with the men’s schedule, England face the lowest-ranked team in their pool in their third match of the tournament – this time at 13:30 on Friday 6 June against South Africa. England last faced South Africa at the Investec World League Semi Finals in Chiswick last year, and that was a decisive 4-1 victory for England. Four players found the net that time around, and seven different players have scored a goal apiece in the last four games. If half the squad can score again at the Hague this match should definitely end as a win for England!

Following the lowest-ranked team comes the highest at number two, Argentina, which already guarantees that it’ll be a tough match on Sunday 8 June at 15:00. Despite an almost 50/50 ratio of ‘goals for’ to ‘goals against’, Argentina are currently taking the edge with 11 wins to England’s seven. However, it’s interesting to note that despite their last match initially ending as a draw, the ensuing 4-2 shootout meant it was England who won the bronze at the World League Finals last December to the disappointment of the Argentinean home crowd. A draw in this first round will mean a point each, but if they do it again later in the tournament they’ll have to hope that they can still best the Argentine keeper.

Last but not least world number six Germany will be another side to watch out for on Tuesday 10 June at 15:00. Despite being three places below England in the ranking, they’re by far the closest to them in terms of how their matches have played out in the past. In the last three matches, all of which were last year (at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships and the World League Finals), England walked away with a win, loss and draw. Several players in the England squad have scored against them in the past, and as it’s Alex Danson who’s scored the most against them (with three out of the eleven goals in the past few matches coming from her stick), Germany will certainly be keeping an eye on her throughout the game.

This is just what we think, but how do you think the tournament will play out in the pool stages? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook! Also, check out our interview with Susannah Townsend about what she thinks about the upcoming tournament.

Get the dates and times in your diary so you don't miss any of the action, all available on Sky Sports - you can find the men's and women's tournament schedules in our International Fixtures section, or all of them together here.


Women's World Cup - Pools and Rankings

 

Pool A

Ranking

Pool B

Ranking

Australia

4

Argentina

2

Belgium

12

China

7

Japan

9

England

3

Korea

8

Germany

6

Netherlands

1

South Africa

11

New Zealand

5

USA

10