COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – September 12, 2017 – Rematches, revenge and redemption – it’s sport at its finest as the third edition of the women’s International Hockey Federation (FIH) Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final draws toward its exciting conclusion in Auckland, New Zealand. With the FIH releasing the official match schedule and all participating eight teams ranked in the top-nine of the FIH Hero World Rankings, this end of the year showdown is one you won’t want to miss.
With less than 70 days until the starting whistle of the event, the U.S. Women’s National Team has returned to training following a break after the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals and women’s Pan American Cup (PAC). A thrilling gold medal performance at the Semifinals, followed by a jump in world rankings and a bronze medal capture at PAC, the USWNT is back on the training field. Some members of the U.S. Women's National Development Squad have been invited to train with the USWNT as a few athletes are back playing with their college team and it enables a larger group for practice.
“We will use the time before we leave to improve our game play based on the evaluations of our performance this summer," said Janneke Schopman, USWNT Head Coach. "While I’m happy with the progress of the team the past months, we are not there yet and there is a lot of room for growth. The players will work on their own development plan which we will incorporate in to the training as well as focusing on team connection and communication. Prior to Hockey World League Final we will play a tournament in Australia in which we can fine-tune our play further to be fully ready for the challenge Final presents.
Taking place at North Harbour Hockey Stadium, the FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final is divided into two pools made up of four teams. FIH Hero World Ranked and Hockey World League debutants No. 4 Team USA sits in Pool A with No. 1 The Netherlands, along with host No. 6 New Zealand and No. 9 Korea. Equally as competitive Pool B consists of Rio 2016 Olympic Games Gold Medalists and No. 2 world ranked England, recent Pan American Cup Champions and Final title holders No. 3 Argentina, No. 7 Germany and No. 8 China.
The USWNT will open up tournament play in the first match of the event against Korea on Friday, November 17 at 2 a.m. ET (6:00 p.m. local time).
FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final Pool Matches:
Friday, November 17, 2017 USA vs. KOR 12 a.m. ET
Saturday, November 18, 2017 USA vs. NED 2 a.m. ET
Monday, November 20, 2017 USA vs. NZL 2 a.m. ET
Click here for the full FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final schedule.
The FIH has not finalized details in regards to the live streaming this event. More information will be made available soon.
As the first time the Oceania's hosting the Hockey World League Final, the USWNT will arrive in New Zealand on the back of a storming performance at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals where they won their first major international medal since a bronze at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
From the Hockey World League Semifinals in Brussels, Belgium, No. 1 The Netherlands, No. 6 New Zealand, No. 8 China and No. 9 Korea qualified by virtue of top four finishes, while in Johannesburg, South Africa, No. 2 England, No. 3 Argentina, No. 4 USA and No. 7 Germany were the four qualifiers.
This truly is the best of the best, with only Australia missing from the top-ranked teams in the world. While every game will be a remarkable, many of the matches will be re-matches from the Semifinals. The second match of Day One features The Netherlands as they take on the host nation in a rematch of a Semifinals game – a match that New Zealand felt they should have won.
China, Korea, England and Germany have all competed in the previous two editions, with England picking up bronze in Tucuman, Argentina in 2013 and Germany winning bronze in the most recent edition, held in Rosario, Argentina in 2015. Korea has the unenviable record of finishing in eighth spot on both previous occasions, while China has a sixth place and fourth place to its credit.
For Germany, there has been a steady collection of medals in the past few years, but there is no doubt that the silver they won in Johannesburg, South Africa has sharpened the team’s appetite to add another medal to their 2013 EuroHockey gold.
The Netherlands won the first edition but finished a disappointing fifth in 2015. Head coach Alyson Annan was pleased with her team’s performance in the recent Hockey World League Semifinals, where they sailed to the winners’ podium unbeaten, but knows they must step up a gear in New Zealand to secure a second medal performance win. Should the Oranje meet England in this event, then the Dutch will be looking for redemption after two shoot-out losses cost them the 2015 EuroHockey gold in and Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold.
Host nation New Zealand came second to Argentina in 2015 and know from that experience the power of having a vociferous home crowd behind them. As sole representatives of Oceania, after Australia crashed out of the qualification spots in Brussels, Belgium, New Zealand will want to give the supporters at the North Harbour Stadium something to cheer about.
The Hockey World League is the culmination of two years of global hockey competition, which started with Round 1 back in Singapore, Suva, Prague, Accra, Douai, Salamanca and Chiclayo. The teams who progressed from those events, contested in Round 2 in Kuala Lumpur, Valencia and West Vancouver before the Semifinals, which also served as World Cup qualifying events.
Just before the FIH Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final, the USWNT will travel to Australia to participate in the International Festival of Hockey. This world-class tournament will see the nations of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands and the USA battle it out across a week-long competition. Now in it's second year, the International Festival of Hockey will be an incredible experience before Team USA heads to New Zealand for the Final.
International Festival of Hockey Matches:
Monday, November 6, 2017 USA vs. AUS 2 a.m. ET (Bendigo - Test Match)
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 USA vs. JPN 12 a.m. ET (Melbourne)
Thursday, November 9, 2017 USA vs. AUS 3:30 a.m. ET (Melbourne)
Saturday, November 11, 2017 USA vs. NED 10 p.m. ET (11/11) (Melbourne)
Click here for the full International Festival of Hockey schedule.