The Women's Hockey World Cup is considered as the biggest sporting event in the women's hockey alongside Olympics. The tournament is played once in every four years.
The tournament is organised by International Hockey Federation (FIH) after their merger with International Federation of Women's Hockey Associations (IFWHA) in 1982.
The 2018 Women's Hockey World Cup is the 14th edition of the tournament and it will be hosted by England for the first time.
In 2018, the tournament will be played from July 21 to August 5 in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. The number of teams is extended to 16 this year from 12.
England earned a direct qualification as the host country with 10 other teams were decided by two qualification rounds. Netherlands, China, New Zealand, Korea and Australia sealed their spot in FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Brussels in June-July 2017. The USA, Germany, Argentina, South Africa, Japan qualified from the next Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg in July 2017. The remaining five teams- Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and India- qualified from Continental Championships.
In the previous edition in 2014, the Netherlands won the tournament in Hague defeating Australia in the final by 2-0. They won all of their six matches comfortably in the competition. Maartje Paumen finished as the tournament’s highest goalscorer with seven goals.
The Netherlands is the most successful team in the Women's Hockey World Cup with winning the tournament seven times.
Going into the tournament, the defending champion the Netherlands will be one of the favourites to lift the trophy for the second time in a row. Despite undergoing a transition phase, the Netherlands won the Euro Hockey Championships and the World League Finals in 2017 and is firmly placed at the top in the Women's World Ranking.
England will put up a strong challenge the Dutch at their own backyard especially after an unexpected semi-final lose to New Zealand in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.
Also, Argentina is having a great form as they defeated 2016 Olympic champion Great Britain by 4-1 in a test series in February 2018. They currently rank third in the world.
Apart from them, Germany, Australia will be in contention to win the tournament. After their historic gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, New Zealand will also fight for the title.