Lee relishing Hockey World League semi-final as groups drawn

Newly appointed England women’s head coach Jason Lee is playing up the importance of the Hockey World League semi-final after discovering his opponents for this summer’s tournament in London.

England, ranked fourth in the world, have been drawn in Pool B with fellow automatically qualified nation Australia as well as South Africa and Spain who came through World League Round 2.

Pool A sees world number two side and Olympic Silver medallists Argentina face China, USA and Italy, the latter two winning their respective World League Round 2 tournaments.

And, with the European Championships also scheduled for this summer in Belgium in August, Lee admits he couldn’t have asked for a better first season as England’s women’s head coach.

“The World League is such an important tournament because, as well as it being the route to reach the World League Final, it is also the first opportunity for us to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Holland,” said Lee.

“It’s exciting to have such a key event so early in my time with the women’s group and it will certainly be the main focus of our preparation for the summer alongside the Europeans.

“The tournament has a number of strong countries in it and we shouldn’t take any team lightly. We will be aiming to avoid Argentina in the quarter-finals, which is the key game for World Cup qualification.

“Due to recent retirements of senior players the team will have a new look to it. It will be fascinating to see how the new players fit in and start to create the basis of a team that is aiming to start to challenge for major honours over the coming years.”

© Sportsbeat 2013