It has been thirty years since the last major success for a UK based nation in Hockey, namely the Seoul Olympics in 1988. The Hockey world cup of 2018 was to be a very good chance for the team from England to challenge for the title and hopes were relatively high. There has been success in the past with the team coming fourth several times and reaching the final in 1986 only to lose to Australia.
The squad, led by Head coach Danny Kelly, was a good mix of new youthful players coming through but with some experienced old heads to steady the ship as well. The work ethic was good and levels of Fitness were also up possible due to their training regime which may include watching Hockey Training videos. The tournament started at the end of the year beginning on the 28th November and ran to the 16th December. Whilst a Drone was to causing havoc at Gatwick in England they were most welcome at the opening I ceremony which saw the largest display ever.
England was drawn in a tough group. They faced the defending Champions Australia and the emerging Chinese team. The final team Ireland would provide a bit of local rivalry. The winners went through automatically whilst the second and third teams would go to a playoff. England started ok with a draw with China only to be soundly beaten by Australia. Both Ireland and England needed to win the match to progress. England won 4 to 2 whilst the Chinese team imploded against the Australians losing 11 – 0.
In the second round England were to play New Zealand who had finished third in their group. England gave a solid performance winning 2-0 and they would then go through to face Argentina in a sterner test. The Argentine team was thought to be one of the best teams in the competition but in a show of great grit and determination with 3 deciding goals over a five-minute period.
The semi finally beckoned, and the team were up against the surprise package of the Belgians. Unfortunately, they were ripped apart 6-0 and the third fourth place playoff came again. Clearly tired after a long tournament they were unable to stand up to the Australians and were easily beaten 8-1.