Netball Expert & Columnist
Tamsin Greenway says there are three major contenders for the Vitality Netball World Cup
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Last Updated: 13/07/19 9:05am
With the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool just days away, Sky Sports' Tamsin Greenway believes there are five teams that could win the tournament if everything goes right but thinks more realistically three teams are fighting it out for gold.
I think it was the last World Cup when they tweaked the schedule so that you meet some of the top teams in the early rounds.
I've been doing a documentary on the history of the World Cup and we were talking about the 2011 tournament and we played a quarter-final where the scoreline was 87-16 and then we went to the semi-final, hit New Zealand and thought 'Wow'.
I think that the changes have really helped and it makes for a much more competitive World Cup, it means that you get those big games nice and early with the way that the groups fall. It helps moving into the semi-finals and it's what everyone wants to see, you want to see the big teams clashing against each other and see where they are at.
I think that there are five teams in the running - three real contenders, England Australia and Jamaica and two outsiders in New Zealand and South Africa.
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Why they can win it.....because across the board they have got the best squad in the world. A few tweaks from the Commonwealth Games so it's not the same squad but their starting seven is predominantly the same.
They need Serena Guthrie and Geva Mentor on form but when you look at the likes of someone like Helen Housby and the season that she's been having out at New South Wales Swifts, she can do no wrong at the moment.
When it comes to the crunch England have got depth. They have got impact players who have been tried a tested, like Nat Haythornthwaite and Rachel Dunn. They have got a like-for-like in Layla Guscoth and Eboni Usoro-Brown so why England can [win the competition] for me is because they've got the strength.
And it's a home World Cup, that is definitely going to help.
Key player.......Serena Guthrie
When you start looking at the other mid-courts, mid-courts are going to be crucial. I think that the ends [shooting and defensive] always match up in certain ways.
Everyone talks about their stars with the likes of Geva Mentor, Shamera Sterling, Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, Caitlin Bassett… you've got all of these big names there and the mid-court, in my opinion, are going to be the match-ups. Whoever can control that mid-court is inevitably going to go on and win the World Cup.
Why they can win it......they are the reigning world champions and they've got a bit of a bridge to build now having lost the Commonwealth Games on home soil.
It was a shock to them and I don't think that anyone was really expecting it if they were being brutally honest; they thought that they were going to get another gold so they've got a big point to prove.
There were a lot of players from that Commonwealth Games that were probably not as experienced with the likes of Courtney Bruce in the last few seconds with that penalty on Helen Housby. There are things like that which I think they will want to change.
They are like a conveyor belt of talent, when I talk about others having strength in depth, that's never really been the case. For Australia it's always been the case.
They've picked a squad for this tournament on performance alone in the Suncorp. To drop some big names like Kim Ravaillion and Gabi Simpson, who was their starting WD for so long, to be able to do that going into a competition like this just shows how much depth they have got.
They can just replace like-for-like people and they will be lethal because they have nothing to lose and are going to come to Liverpool fighting.
Key player.......Gretel Tippett
She's probably an unorthodox GA and has had her ups and downs in that Australian squad but the last season, in particular, she's been outstanding.
She's been brilliant for the Firebirds even though they're not winning. She has sorted out some things and really answered her critics.
She is such a difficult GA to play against and I think that if she can get it right, she's absolutely lethal for the Diamonds.
Why they can win it......They've been my little worry actually, I'm glad that England won't get them in the semi-final whatever happens because they are in our group.
When you speak about Jamaica they have had their tall shooters for a long time, it was Romelda Aiken then it was Jhaniele Fowler-Reid - they're both in the squad. You know that they're very solid under the post and both over 6ft 5in.
However you always knew that you could out-score them; you always knew that defensively you could break them down, you could work it out now though, they have got Shamera Sterling she will get ball off teams when needed.
They're a threat and what is quite interesting is how little access a lot of the top teams have had to them as well.
Just like England before the Commonwealth Games where it had been building and was close - Jamaica are the same.
Their weakness is going to be the mid-court but, but, but if they've sorted out their defensive end they could be winners.
On the day, it only needs one good win at the right time - getting themselves a good semi-final spot or picking off a good team in the semis and they'll be right in there.
Key player.......Shamera Sterling
She has been absolutely outstanding [in Suncorp] and it will be interesting to see who she partners with, in the defence.
I know that Jodi-Ann Ward has had a fantastic season with Severn Stars and they've got other options but Sterling is the person to watch!
Why they can win it.....how ridiculous that I am saying that they are a bit of an outsider - but they are.
They were very much below par from where they would have expected at the Commonwealth Games. I think that everyone sort of saw it coming but it still has been a massive change for world netball. So it was still a shock.
They have got Laura Langman back. Some big names have come back we know that Casey Kopua made a return, we saw her in the Quad Series.
They have arguably the best coach in the world in Noeline Taurua but there's a lot of pressure on her to make sure that the team is successful. She hasn't had a great deal of time with them, she kept her job in the Suncorp so she has been with Lightning.
Tactically if they can get it right, for me they'll be brilliant because that what Taurua is great at. If she's got them playing tactically well then they can pull teams apart. but I don't think that they have got the depth.
They might surprise but their bench isn't as scary as it used to be. I don't think, personally, that New Zealand have got the depth all the way across the court yet.
Key player.....Laura Langman
She's a winner. It was an absolute farce that she wasn't allowed to play internationally with the ruling for Suncorp and her choice to go out there and I'm so glad that, that has changed. I know New Zealand will stick by their guns as to what they did but I think that every player should be treated differently in certain respects.
We were all happy to see her back because at the end of the day you want to have the best players playing internationally and she is a world beater.
She's played at Lightning under Taurua, she understands the systems.
Whether she can link the team in time for the World Cup we'll have to see but they are definitely not a team to overlook.
Why they can win it.....South Africa have become England's bogey team, haven't they?
Looking at the Quad Series; beating England, going goal-for-goal and into extra-time with New Zealand and taking the Aussies close until injury struck they've been close.
They still haven't really proved it consistently against the top sides, and how will they match up against teams like Jamaica?
If you look at players like Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius and how amazing they've been again this season working together at Lightning - that defensive unit is incredible.
You can't play your second string against them you have got to come to play. They have a seven and that seven will have to play well, you go through that team and there aren't any weak links in their starting seven but they definitely haven't got the bench.
Key player.....Karla Pretorius
She is the best GD in the world without a doubt and she will keep her team in it at times.
There are going to be some huge match-ups and whether she can do it against all of the different style of GAs like a Tippett or a Housby who are very different.
If anyone can do it then she can, he has been absolutely incredible and we'll all be excited to see how she performs and for her team. If she's lethal, South Africa can be.
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