Uruguay and Austria hope for dream debut performances -

Uruguay and Austria hope for dream debut performances

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Khel Today Bureau

New Delhi: As we build up towards the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup, which springs into action on 1 April in Potchefstroom, South Africa, here is a preview of the teams that comprise Pool C.

Pool C: Argentina, Austria, Korea, Uruguay

Lausanne, Switzerland: It was inconceivable that the title holders might not qualify and defend their title but this was nearly the case with Argentina. The young Lionesses finished behind Canada, USA and Uruguay at the Junior Pan Am Championship and so failed to qualify for the Junior World Cup. The withdrawal of a number of teams opened up a space and there is little doubt that the Argentinians will be seeking to defend their title. Las Leoncitas has a good record in the event. As well as their 2016 title, they also won gold in 1993, silver in 2001, 2009 and 2013 and bronze in 1997.

Korea is another team with a good record at this event, winning in 2001 and 2005. Captain Seona Kim said her team had been working incredibly hard to prepare for this event and would be ‘making things very difficult’ for their opponents. After failing to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Korea women’s hockey has been rebuilding, and were impressive when they won the silver medal behind Japan at the Asia Cup in January of this year. The junior team will be looking to prove that the future of hockey is bright in Korea.

Like Ireland, this is a first appearance for Uruguay and the South American team will be keen to strut their style. Uruguay are one of the fastest developing hockey nations, with the recent opening of a new national base, complete with new turf, a real boon for hockey in the country. At the Pan Am Championships, Uruguay showed they could defend with real strength and they will have been focused in on developing their goal scoring abilities since that event in January.

Talking ahead of the competition, Agustina Martinez of Uruguay said: ‘It is the first time we are going to a World Cup. We qualified in August, which was historic, so for us this was very emotional. It was like a dream that came true. I think that we didnt even dare to think about it but once we made it, it was very moving, also because we could live this moment with our families and see the emotions this provoked among people in Uruguay.’

The most recent addition to the roster of teams lining up in Potchefstroom is Austria. The European team were invited to participate after the exclusion of Russia by FIH. This will be Austria’s first appearance at a Junior World Cup and the squad has a baptism of fire as they face Argentina on the opening day. “I really think that we don’t have any big expectations because we don’t know how our opponents are going to be, especially Korea, since I think none of us has ever played against this team. We all know that Argentina in our group is going to be a big opponent and that it will be very tough, but we’re just going to give 150% and we will be happy with our game”, says Austrian player Fiona Felber.

The first Pool C matches take place on the opening day of competition. Korea will face Uruguay, while Argentina will play Austria.

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