India to face England in 2018 Women's Hockey WC opener
New Delhi, Nov 26 (PTI) India have been placed along side world no. 2 and host nation England in a tricky Pool B of FIH Hockey Women's World Cup, to be held in London next year.
Besides England, other participating nations in India's pool are world no. 7 USA and minnows Ireland.
According to the schedule of the 16-nation prestigious tournament issued by the International Hockey Federation today, world no. 10 and Asia Cup champions India will open their campaign against England on the first day of the event on July 21.
After England, the Indians will next play Ireland on July 26 followed by their last pool encounter against USA on July 29 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
"We look forward to the challenge in Pool B. England and USA are ranked above us but the Indian women's team is on the rise with confidence-boosting performances in the past few months. Every match at the World Cup is important and each match needs to be played like a final," chief coach of the Indian women's team Harendra Singh said.
"It will be crucial for us to have a good outing in the Commonwealth Games next year so we carry forward a winning momentum into the World Cup. We have set our sights on Mission 2018 and all our training will be focused on peaking at the prestigious tournament," he added.
Meanwhile in Pool A, world number one side and reigning world champions The Netherlands await the challenge of Asian giants China, Korea and rising European side Italy.
World no. 3 Argentina are clubbed along side European rivals Germany and Spain apart from African continental Champions South Africa in Pool C.
Pool D will feature Oceania rivals Australia, New Zealand along side Japan and 2017 Rabobank EuroHockey Championship runners-up Belgium