So the time has come…our first game of the World Cup starts tomorrow!
We arrived in The Hague on Monday all very excited to get going. With our hotel on the beach we couldn’t complain (although some sunshine would be nice!). There’s a number of teams in our hotel but thankfully all our team are on one floor. I’m sharing with Maddie Hinch – our goalkeeper. We’ve shared together now for every tournament we’ve been in together and manage to get through lots of boxsets. This trip it’s a combination of Game of Thrones and Dawson’s Creek! Somehow we managed to trap a mosquito in our room for the first two nights and typical, I got eaten alive with Maddie coming off unscathed!
We had a practice match against New Zealand the day after we arrived and it was definitely a typical warm up pre-tournament match. Somehow even though it was a very short flight it felt (and looked!) like we were running the journey out of our legs. Post that game though we’ve had some really good training sessions down at the stadium and got used to the pitch and the general set up. The stadium is incredible! Normally a football ground they’ve really transformed it into a hockey village and with all tickets sold out I can’t wait to play in front of such big crowds!
On Friday we had the Opening Ceremony with the King of Holland also in attendance. It was held in the Mount Forum Theatre and all teams attended along with many other guests. Four years ago in Argentina at the World Cup there, we had a person dressed in Argentinian playing kit absailing down a huge monument and lots of fireworks. Friday afternoon was very different to that but also in a great way. There was an orchestra, all dressed in different kits, performing a huge variety of different music and dance linking them to each country participating at the World Cup. It was a lovely event to mark the occasion and definitely got us all wanting to start the tournament.
So tomorrow we play the USA in our first game. People may assume, looking at World rankings, that we should beat them easily. However do not be fooled, the USA are a team on the rise and definitely a strong team who we will not underestimate. I think the beauty of a World Cup is that every single team here has a chance and therefore total concentration and hard work must go into every minute of every game. I have total confidence that our preparation has been at the best and we now have to go out and perform with that passion, fight and skill that we know we can do.
Tune into Sky Sports 3 at 12:00 GMT to support us against USA!