As Belgium (Women and Men), England (Women and Men), Germany (Women and Men), Spain (Men) and of course The Netherlands, hosts of the RaboBank Hockey World Cup 2014 settle down for their final nights sleep ahead of the much anticipated Tournament, there is little more for us to do both wish them all luck!

The European Hockey Federation is proud to have such wonderful teams representing Europe in The Hague. We believe that they are all Medal contenders and we are anticipating some mouthwatering encounters over the coming 2 weeks.

At 13:00 CET Belgium open the European encounters tomorrow against a more fancied 6th ranked New Zealand, but this is a Belgian women’s team who never say die, and have climbed onto the World stage in recent years with no fear of anyone!

Their men take on India at 16:00hrs CET and Marc Lammers Red Dragons are not in The Hague to make up the numbers, they are aiming high!

At 17.30 CET  the first of many European tussles will take place with England v Spain, we will remain neutral on the outcome here, but wish both teams well and injury free, including Ashley Jackson who’s in top form these days,  to compete for top places in their Pool.

The final game of the opening day will be the Women from Netherlands v Japan at 19:45 CET . A hugely anticipated game as the Oranje Army descends on the Hague, one can only imagine the goose bumps as the stadium erupts into the  Wilhelmus! 

Day 2 opens at 10:00 CET with Germany v South Africa, and Oliver Korn will walk his team out knowing what others have learned the hard way! Even if they lose their first game of a Tournament, they like the colour Gold, however we don’t expect them to lose…

Next up at 13:00 CET England women face USA and will not be phased by the USA’s recent win at the Champions Challenge. England will be up for the physical challenge that USA always bring to the table, and with Alex Danson in top form at the moment, she is a defenders nightmare!

Germany, women take on China at 14:30 CET, a mixture of experience (8 players have more than 100 caps!) and the impressive teenagers, this team, having won the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in 2013 will be looking to consolidate this group of players as a World Class team.

14:00 CET the Kyocera Stadium will lift the roof again to support the Dutch men in their first game of the World Cup v Argentina.

And finally there is another team in The Hague for the coming 2 weeks, and once again Europe is well represented in this team too, The Technical Officials and Umpires!

Good luck to:

TO: DOYER, Wiert NED, ISBERG, Bjorn SWE 
Medical Officer: ROLLE, Udo (Dr.) GER 
Umpires Manager: EHLERS, Henrik DEN 
Judges: KLEIN NAGELVOORT, Erik NED 
Umpires: FIH BLASCH, Christian GER, GROCHAL, Marcin POL, JAMSON, Hamish ENG, STAGNO, Nathan GIB, VAN EERT, Roel NED, VAZQUEZ, Paco ESP, WIJSMULLER, Roderick NED, MADDEN, Martin SCO
Video Umpire: MAIR, Andy SCO

TO: RUTTEN, Edna NED 
Medical Officer MÜLLER-EISING, Wiebke (Dr.) GER 
Judges: LIJS, Adrienne NED, PETITJEAN, Sylvie FRA 
Umpires: ADENOT, Claire FRA,BLOCK, Frances ENG, BRUNEKREEF, Caroline NED, DELFORGE, Laurine BEL, ESKINA, Elena RUS,
MEISTER, Michelle GER 
Video Umpire: METCHETTE, Carol IRL

Suffice to say it is a feast of hockey! Superbly presented by the KNHB and it’s partners, and we in the EHF say congratulations to you on what we know will be a superb organisation!

The World Cup site is full of all the detail for the fans and fanatics! http://www.rabobankhockeyworldcup2014.com/ 

The Official twitter hashtag is #rhwc2014 – get tweeting and let’s put HOCKEY firmly on the twitter ‘trending’ map!

Photograph: German captain Julia Mueller clutches the €20,000 Diamond stick following Germany’s winning gold at the  2013 TriFinance EuroHockey Championships