McCallin excited for EuroHockey return

McCallin excited for EuroHockey return
The EuroHockey Championship gets underway on August 16 as the top teams from across the continent face off in Antwerp, Belgium.

With the victor of the competition earning a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there’s an extra incentive to get Gold, and Shona McCallin spoke of the importance of putting in a good showing at the upcoming event:

“It doesn’t get much more important than this, Olympic Qualification is on the line through the Euros and there’s no reason why we can’t qualify through that route. It’s going to be seriously tough but if you want to qualify for the Olympics it’s always going to be tough. 

“If it doesn’t happen through the European’s then we’ve got another route later in the year, which is new for all of us, so there’s conversations around how we approach that and how it works as if it does get to that stage it would be two really high-pressured games.

“The Europeans are always a special one. It’s arguably the strongest continental tournament there is, the majority of the top ten teams in the world are from Europe so there’s not going be any easy games and with Olympic Qualification riding on it as well it adds an extra bit of pressure.

“As an England group we’re looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do.”

Shona McCallin v Ireland

England’s women’s team face Ireland (August 18, 10:15am BST) in their first match at the competition, a team they last came up against at the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup where Giselle Ansley’s drag flick secured a 1-0 victory, and McCallin is expecting another tough battle:

“Obviously I wasn’t involved at the World Cup, but the Irish did exceptionally well beating many good teams along the way to getting that silver medal. They’ve changed coach and slightly changed their style, but I think the majority of the squad is quite similar and they’ll obviously be confident from the World Cup and from having some good results since. It will be a difficult game and there’s always a bit of an extra spice when we’re against one of the Home Nations, but I’m confident that if we can bring our game and what we know we can do then we’ll come out with the three points in that game.”

Having been part of the team that won bronze at the 2017 EuroHockey Championship, McCallin spoke of her excitement at the prospect of featuring for England for the first time since November 2017: “To pull on the England kit again will be special and I’m hoping that a couple of people will be able to come out to Belgium and watch.

“For me it’s about getting out there, playing, executing the game plan and hopefully winning that game but being back in a stadium in an England shirt is something that I’ve not done for a while so it will probably be a bit emotional.”

As well as Ireland, England will face Germany (Aug 19) and Belarus (Aug 21) in their group, for the full fixtures, click HERE.