The FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup Chile 2023 begins overnight tonight with all 12 teams in action on opening day, as South Africa opens it’s Pool A campaign against hosts Chile at 01h30 (CAT) on Pitch 1 of the Centro Deportivo de Hockey Césped, Estadio Nacional, in the Ñuñoa Metropolitan Region in Santiago, Chile on Wednesday, 29 November, 2023.
Australia, Chile, Netherlands and South Africa feature in Pool A, with a top two finish being the only way to secure a place in the competition’s quarter-finals and to maintain dreams of of Junior World Cup glory.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, South Africa Head Coach Lenise Marais said: “We’re expecting a tough tournament and are looking forward to the challenge. Competing at a World Cup is special and we’re excited for our time in Chile.”
“For us it means a lot to play in our country, to be able to be with our people, our families and friends. I think the atmosphere is going to be very good and it will give us great energy to have big crowds here.”Francisca Irazoqui, Chilean Junior Women’s Hockey Captain
The top two teams of four nations in each of the four pools will qualify for the tournaments knockout phase after the pool round, and based on present world rankings, South Africa should expect to make the cut, but nothing is guaranteed in a World Cup.
FIH Junior World Ranked no. 8 South Africa – who qualified for the World Cup by placing first in the Junior Africa Cup 2023, will take on host nation and Chile in front of a partisan home crowd in the final tie on opening day of the tournament, and it will take a special effort from the South African visitors to dominate Chile sufficiently to quiet a patriotic and enthusiastic crowd.
On opening night, Pool B encounter between Korea and Zimbabwe will get the event underway at 10am local time (18h00 CAT), and will be followed by high-octane clashes between Netherlands and Australia, India and Canada, Argentina and Spain, Germany and Belgium, before hosts Chile play the final match of the opening day against South Africa.
Ahead of their clash against world top-ranked Netherlands, world no.9-ranked Australia’s Head Coach, Stacia Strain, said:
“Our team is expecting to take back a lot of cultural learning and top-tier experience against other international teams from the Women’s Junior World Cup Chile 2023.”
About his world champion team, the Netherlands’ Head Coach Dave Smolenaars said:
“We are looking forward to playing a fantastic tournament with some great opponents, in a beautiful city at a very nice stadium. As for the result, the Netherlands will always aim to win a medal, with the gold medal as the big dream.”
The full match schedule for the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup can be found here.
Photo Caption: Women’s Junior Hockey World Cup starts in Chile overnight tonight with all 12 teams in action on opening day, with South Africa opening it’s Pool A campaign against hosts Chile at 01h30 (CAT) Santiago. Photo: SA Hockey on Instagram