With an eye on the 2012 Olympics that London would be hosting, a good performance here would go a long way in instilling confidence in Jason Lee coached side.
A lot would rest on the young shoulders of 2009 FIH Young Player of the Year- Ashley Jackson. An industrious striker and a highly deceptive drag flick specialist, Jackson is currently the leading goalscorer in the 2009/2010 Dutch Premier League.
In Barry Middleton, England has one of the finest providers in the world, besides the Mantell brothers (Simon and Richard) and James Tindall, which make England the dark horses of the tournament.
Thos would be England’s 11th World Cup appearance, having always appeared as a single nation and never as Great Britain, which is commonplace in the Olympic Games.
The only World Cup that England has missed out on was the inaugural edition in Barcelona in 1971. Their best performance in World Cup is, a silver medal in London in 1986, which was also their last podium finish until they clinched the European Championships last year.
During the previous edition in Mönchengladbach in 2006, they ended fifth.
England’s stocks in hockey have been on the rise for quite some time. Winners of EuroHockey Nations Tournament at Amstelveen ahead of many fancied opponents like Germany and Holland, England booked their World Cup berth by reaching the semifinals in that competition.
First Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 11:14