2014 Hockey World Cup – the contenders for glory
The Hockey World Cup is held every four years, with teams around the globe preparing for next year’s tournament in the Netherlands.
Already hockey enthusiasts are starting to wager money at the bookmakers, with the competition set to be one of the most eagerly contested in years.
Australia are the reigning world champions after winning the 2010 competition in India, and will go into next year’s tournament as one of the favourites.
The Kookaburras beat Germany 2-1 in that final, lifting the crown for the second time.
The Australians also won gold at the 2004 Olympics, and finished third at the recent 2012 event in England.
Mark Knowles captains an experienced side that is sure to be in the running for glory once more.
Germany have a fantastic reputation and track record in major hockey tournaments over the years, and go into next summer’s competition on the back of gold medals at the 2012 Olympics.
Jochen Heimpel’s men will still remember their defeat four years ago at the hands of the Australians and will look to go one step better this time round.
On home soil, Netherlands must be considered as a one of the main sides capable of claiming victory. The Dutch side won the tournament the last time it was hosted in Holland back in 1998 and have been close to the pinnacle of the sport since.
They finished third in New Delhi back in 2010, while were also beaten in the final of the Olympics last summer.
With a boisterous crowd behind them, manager Maarten van Heeswijk will urge his side to play an attacking brand of hockey, and the hosts are more than capable of achieving glory.
Of the rest, England, Spain, Belgium and South Korea are all capable of causing an upset on their day, but will need to be at their very best consistently to stand a chance of lifting the trophy.