England’s men’s hockey team will hope to replicate the success of their footballing counterparts when they begin their Hockey World Cup campaign in India this week.
With new Head Coach Danny Kerry at the helm ,the team are aiming to compete for a medal and make history by becoming the first England squad to reach a World Cup final since 1986, when they finished as runners-up to Australia.
For Kerry it will the first time he leads the men at a major international tournament after leaving his post as Head Coach of the Great Britain and England women’s teams to succeed Bobby Crutchley in September.
England will compete in Pool B alongside China, Ireland and the reigning World Cup holders Australia.
Currently ranked at seventh in the world in the latest FIH rankings, England are seeking to avoid the disappointment experienced in the last two World Cup tournaments where they lost in the bronze medal matches to Netherlands and Argentina respectively.
Kerry’s men begin their campaign against China on Friday afternoon before taking on top seeds Australia and ending the group stages with a tough match against Ireland.
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallists will be without injured forward Sam Ward who withdrew from the 20-man squad last week with concussion as well as Chris Griffiths who injured his foot during the recent Four Nations tournament in Valencia.
Replacing Ward is East Grinstead’s in-form forward Liam Ansell who has flown out to meet up with the squad.
Opting for plenty of youth, Kerry has selected 13 players without World Cup experience to their name. However, looking to add to his tally of 425 Great Britain and England caps is 34-year-old Barry Middleton who will compete in his fourth World Cup.
The World Cup will take place in Bhubaneswar, India from 28 November to 16 December.
England Fixtures (GMT):
30/11/18 England v China 1.30pm
04/12/18 England v Australia 11.30am
07/12/18 Ireland v England 1.30pm