Netball World Cup: the essential guide
Can England topple Australia? All you need to know about the tournament
2019 Netball World Cup
- When: 12 July to 21 July
- Where: Liverpool
- Teams: 16
- Number of matches: 60
- UK TV channels: Sky Sports and the BBC
The Netball World Cup is underway in Liverpool as 16 teams battle it out over ten days of competition to be crowned world champions.
The matches come thick and fast with all the group games taking place over just three days, and the winner decided on Sunday 21 July.
“Women's sport is riding the crest of a wave,” says Sky Sports. “After the football World Cup, the mesmeric work of 15-year-old Cori Gauff at Wimbledon and the ongoing women's Ashes series, more sporting headlines will be written as netball takes centre stage to tell its own tale.”
How does it work?
The format is rather like a rugby sevens tournament with no-one completely eliminated after the group stage and each team ending with a ranking.
The 16 teams are divided into four groups of four (A to D). The top three from each go through to one of two groups (F and G) in the second stage. The bottom team from the first round of matches goes into Group E and play off for positions 13 to 16.
The top two from groups F and G go through to the semi finals and the remaining eight play off for positions four to12.
After the semi finals there is a third-place play off and then a grand final.
Who are the favourites?
Australia, aka the Diamonds, are the big beasts of the netball world. They are reigning champions and tournament favourites – but they will face stern competition from the England Roses and New Zealand Silver Ferns.
“Australia are the top predators of the World Cup, having claimed 11 of 14 titles since 1963, but in Liverpool the hunters will find themselves in unfamiliar territory,” says Erin Delahunty in The Guardian. “The queens of the jungle can hear rustling in the reeds and it is the rest of the netball world planning an attack. After England last year beat the world champions in the dying moments of the Commonwealth Games final, the Australian Diamonds suddenly look beatable.”
Former England star Tamsin Greenaway, writing in the Daily Telegraph, says England are the main contenders. “This is the best ever opportunity for England to win a World Cup. There is strength in depth across the court and throughout the entire squad, and preparation has been spot on with recent results in the Quad Series. I don’t think there is a weak link in the team.”
The only other realistic winners are New Zealand and Jamaica.
Jamaica’s “Sunshine Girls lost to England by one goal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games semi-final but overtook the Roses to take second in the world rankings earlier in July”, says the BBC.
“New Zealand, who have won the World Cup four times, are hovering just below England in the world rankings and bring an experienced squad to Liverpool.”
Who are the big names?
England's star is Helen Housby, “who has made her name as the ice queen of English netball” after her final second goal against Australia in the 2018 Commonwealth Games final, says the Telegraph.
“So far in Housby’s short elite career, almost everything she has touched has turned to gold.”
Her opposite number in the Australia side is Gretel Tippett. “The Queensland Firebird has become a regular starter for coach Lisa Alexander, and is shooting at 96 per cent so far this season in Super Netball,” says the BBC. She is the biggest new star in a relatively inexperienced Diamonds squad.
Silver Fern Maria Folau has been in the news recently thanks to the controversial views of her husband, Australian rugby player Israel. If she can focus on her game New Zealand will be a threat.
How do I find out more about netball?
The sport is growing fast, and England’s rise under coach Tracey Neville has coincided with the arrival of professionalism for the top players – many of who now play in Australia and New Zealand where netball is big business.