The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed the match schedule and six women’s teams who will compete in the Hockey Champions Trophy 2016 taking place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London, England between 18-26 June.
The Champions Trophy is dubbed “the best of the best” and with a line up such as this, it is easy to see why. Olympic and World Champions Netherlands, defending champions and World League holders, Argentina, World No3 Australia and World League runners-up New Zealand are all present. Add to that the USA, coached by former Great Britain Assistant Coach Craig Parnham and the quality of the teams is clear to see.
With the excitement of England’s Unibet EuroHockey Championships gold medal at the same venue still fresh in the minds of hockey fans, the return of world class international hockey to London for a second consecutive summer promises to be must-see spectacle. It is a genuine curtain-raiser for the Rio Olympics, as the medal contenders face-off shortly before the Games, and the public get their last chance to see the Olympic stars in action on home turf.
The opening day of play pits hosts Great Britain against Argentina on Saturday 18 June in a repeat of the Olympic semi final at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2012. A super Sunday then follows, featuring some mouth-watering games. Continental rivals USA and Argentina go head to head as well as New Zealand taking on Australia. Many of the Great Britain team represented England in this very venue last summer as they defeated world number one ranked Netherlands in the final of the EuroHockey Championships. Netherlands will therefore be looking to make amends as Europe’s top two women’s teams meet at 14:00 on that super Sunday.
Other schedule highlights include a rerun of December’s Hockey World League Final between Argentina and New Zealand on Thursday 23 June, while those who were in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during the London 2012 Games will be able to witness a rematch of the gold medal game between the world’s top two ranked teams – Netherlands and Argentina, on Saturday 25 June.
Hosts Great Britain, ranked sixth in the world (based on England’s rankings), will be looking to build upon last year’s success when their unbeaten run won the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Valencia, Spain. They will hope to draw upon the support created by their home fans in this city during the London 2012 Games, where they won bronze, and more recently during England’s run to the Unibet EuroHockey Championship title last summer.
Reigning Olympic and World Cup champions Netherlands, who currently top the FIH world rankings, will be determined to get back to winning ways at international events after missing out on the titles at last year’s Argentina Hockey World League Final and the Unibet EuroHockey Championships.
Defending champions Argentina, who recently leapfrogged Australia into second place in the world rankings, aim to win two events in succession. They qualified for this year’s Champions Trophy by winning the Argentina Hockey World League in Rosario only a few months ago.
Oceania champions Australia will be determined to go one better at this year’s event, as they finished runners up to Argentina’s ‘Las Leonas’ in the last edition of the Champions Trophy held in Mendoza, Argentina in 2014.
World number four ranked New Zealand will have taken a lot of confidence from their performance at last year’s Argentina Hockey World League Final. There they reached the final of their first FIH international event for a number of years, only to lose to Argentina.
USA qualified for this year’s event through the Champions Challenge in Glasgow, Scotland back in April 2014. Following that triumph they went on to win the 2015 Pan American Games, defeating Argentina in the final and guaranteeing their place in the Rio 2016 Olympics as continental champions.
This will be the last major international hockey competition before these teams