(20 Nov, 2016): Korea, China and debutants Japan will aim to stamp their mark as Asian flag bearers against a powerful field in the 8th Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 which will take place between 24 November and 4 December in Chile.
Club Manquehue in the city of Santiago will play host to 10 days of action-packed hockey as the world’s up-and-coming junior players from 16 nations battle to be crowned champions.
There have been seven previous editions of the Women’s Junior World Cup, the first in 1989 in Canada, and every four years since 1993. The Netherlands have been crowned champions on three occasions, including back-to-back victories in 2009 and 2013, with Argentina picking up silver medals on both occasions.
The Koreans, who have a proud history in this tournament emerging as winners in both 2005 and 2009, are in Group A alongside reigning champions the Netherlands who will be gunning for their third consecutive victory here in eight years. The United States and African Junior Cup runners up Zimbabwe are in the same pool.
Korea’s biggest test will come on Nov 24 opening encounter against three-time champions Netherlands followed by matches against Zimbabwe (Nov 25) and conclude the group fixtures against the United States on Nov 27.
The quarterfinals matches will be held on Nov 30 followed by the semi-finals on Dec 2 and final on Dec 4.
Japan is slotted into Group B with Argentina, champions in 1993 but lost in the 2008 and 2013 finals against the Dutch, together with Germany and France while Pool C consists of Australia, England, South Africa and Chile.
Asian Junior champions China are in Group C and open their campaign against Spain on Nov 24 in what should be a close encounter. They have New Zealand and Belgium for company. The Chinese have qualified in seven out of eight editions of the Junior World Cup since the 1989 inaugural event where they finished fifth. And at the 2013 tournament in Monchengladback, Germany, they ended in 12th position.
Hosts Chile finished fourth in 2012 and will be hoping to get their campaign off to a good start in front of home fans against European junior bronze medallists England in the last match of the day.
Chilean players come to the Junior World Cup with some serious levels of experience and this includes Denise Krimerman who will be the leader and a player to watch with her strong passes and great defensive play. Also, up front Josefa Salas and Kim Jacob have senior experience and are skilful in front of goal.
Craig Keegan, Head Coach of the England team, has named a squad that consist a number of the players who recently competed at the 5 Nations Tournament in Valencia. Nine of the squad members come from University of Birmingham.
“We’re taking a very talented team. It is a very young team but what we lack in experience we make up for in the ability this group has. We are aiming to teach the players what it takes to compete at international level and a tournament of this prestige and this quality is the perfect place to do that,” said Keegan.
“We want to compete and we are aiming to get to the quarter finals. After that, who knows what might happen? It’s a great chance to test the players and get them ready for what it might be like if they make it to senior international level,” he added.