WOMEN'S WORLD CUP 2018 - "It felt like the whole stadium was singing the national anthem with us"

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

A tournament to remember.

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre - London

The 14th Women’s World Cup came to an end last week, and the tournament did not disappoint. Held in the Olympic Park in London, the tournament was a huge hit, with thousands of fans from across the world travelling to England to cheer on their respective nations.

16 countries came together in 4 pools to compete on the main stage. In pool A the Netherlands dominated, scoring a very impressive 35 goals over the whole tournament. Ireland surprised the crowds, topping pool B after beating USA and India. Spain came out on top of pool C and Australia of pool D.

Gryphon ambassadors in action

The atmosphere for the finals weekend was electric. The Netherlands took the gold, for the 8th time in World Cup history, retaining their position as number 1 in the world. Ireland exceeded everyones expectations apart from their own, making it to their first ever World Cup Final and moving up the ranks from 16th to 8th in the World. Spain also surprised a few, taking the bronze with a convincing 3-1 win over Australia, and jumped up to 7th in the World Rankings.

A massive congratulations to our athletes Zoey Wilson and Lizzie Colvin from Ireland, and Maria Lopez and Lola Riera from Spain for coming away with their respective silver and bronze medals. We caught up with the girls after the games and this is what they had to say....

Lizzie Colvin, Ireland

"We know that we can compete with the best teams in the world"

Irelands historic run at the World Cup means everything to our team. We have had such an incredible journey in our first major tournament and we enjoyed every second of it. To have such wonderful memories of having fun and playing well together against top quality opposition is a huge learning experience for our team to take away from this tournament. We now know that we can compete with the best teams in the world on the international stage and our desire to push forward and see how much further we can go is stronger than ever.

At home, it's also very special for us because as a female minority sport we are now getting the recognition that our sport deserves and hopefully more funding at a grass roots and international level will follow.

Tell us about what the experience was like for you, did you believe you had it in you?

Our first goal of the tournament was to enjoy the experience, have fun and play with freedom. We did have nerves about the first match but when we ran out into the stadium and heard the number of Irish fans in the crowds who were cheering us on, the energy was infectious and it drove our performances in every game. We are truly grateful for all our friends and family and our fans home and away who were cheering us on and believed in us.

We knew if we put in a good performances that we could challenge other teams in our pool so we tried to play with freedom high work rate and good team work and so our belief in our ability grew stronger and stronger.

So, what's next for Ireland...?

We now have our eyes firmly set on the qualification for Tokyo Olympics next year. This is a massive opportunity for us to keep momentum going in our success story and if we are successful, to promote more investment in our sport. As a team our ultimate goal is to create a legacy for the future generations and provide them with the best opportunity to achieve and maintain a top 10 position in the world.

Zoe Wilson, Ireland

Hopefully as a result of our success we can inspire another generation to pick up a stick and play this fabulous sport.

How does this historic run at the World Cup change things for your team?

For hockey to be a part of Irish history is simply amazing. Hopefully as a result of our success we can inspire another generation to pick up a stick and play this fabulous sport. Further funding has been promised and this will help us spend more time together as a squad and play matches against other world class teams.

As far as the Olympic Qualifiers our result is huge, this could mean a home draw after the World League and if we can recapture the fantastic crowd support we had in London it can really make the difference to our performance and our sport.

What does this experience mean to you and the team going forwards?

The experience has been phenomenal, I am so fortunate to have experienced this so early on in my Hockey career. Every game brought different challenges. For me, running out of the tunnel to the roar of 10,000 spectators was something I never get tired of, the amount of supporters we had in the crowds wearing green is so new to us and something I'll never forget when it felt like the whole stadium was singing the national anthem with us.

We were ranked 16th in the world, we set a goal to get out of our pool. However as the games went on we gained a lot of confidence and belief and realised that anything was possible.

We are in desperate need of a stadium that will help grow our sport and host major competitions. I think we have put hockey on the map in Ireland and hopefully now we can build on our success in the future.

Maria Lopez & Lola Riera, Spain

How do you prepare for these tournaments, do you train together as a team or full time?

Llevamos muchos años entrenando. El equipo cambió de mentalidad mas o menos en 2013 y desde entonces ha habido un gran cambio físico, mental y filosofía. Durante el año tenemos sesiones en los centros de alto rendimiento y un plan físico. Cuando podemos nos juntamos todas y hacemos concentraciones y jugamos contra otras selecciones.

We have spent many years training. The team changed their mindset in 2013, and since then there has been a big physical, mental and philosophical change. During the year we have high altitude training and a training plan. When we can, we come together and we do training camps and play against other teams.

What was the experience like for you and for the Spanish team?

Hemos ido creciendo durante el torneo, creo que hacemos visto que podíamos competir contra cualquier equipo. Intentamos desde el principio ir partido a partido sin pensar más allá. Antes de empezar creo soñábamos con una medalla pero sabíamos que era muy difícil.

We improved throughout the tournament. I think that we saw that we could compete against any team. From the beginning we tried to go from match to match without thinking further ahead. I think before we started we dreamt of medalling but we knew it would be very difficult.

What's next?

El principal objectivo es obtener una plaza para Tokio y seguir creciendo. Queremos que esta medalla no sea un éxito aislado y que vengan muchas más.

The main objective is to secure a place in Tokyo and keep growing. We don't want this medal to be a success in isolation and that lots more will come.

So with the World Cup now over, and the dust settled, it seems most teams focuses are looking towards Olympic Qualification.

Along with these success stories, the World Cup was also made host to the largest ever Gryphon Store, stocking G18 sticks, bags, apparel, goodies and more. The venue acted as a place for our ambassadors, friends and customers from around the world to drop by, and connect with each other. Thank you to all who came by during the tournament, and made it the occasion it was!

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