The seedings are:
- Hong Kong
A: Canada, Brazil, Russia
B: England, China, Japan
C: Australia, Netherlands, Hong Kong
D: USA, Spain, Tunisia
Having three-team groups really builds the pressure as there is no margin for error, and nothing for coming second in the pool. Group winners will pay for the Cup, runners up for the Plate, and third places for the Bowl. While Canada and England have great draws that will given them semi-final places, there will be titanic battles elsewhere. Australia v Netherlands and USA v Spain - which are the opening games of the tournament - are going to be huge games with the losers severally disappointed as they will miss-out on playing for the cup. Brazil v Russia will also be massive as both will want to avoid playing in the third tier.
In fact, other than England and Canada, this is pretty tough to call, but if Kelly van Harskamp is back for the Dutch (and she was hinting that she might be) I think they could edge Australia, while I think Spain - who really have something to prove after being sidelined for London - will beat USA.
That would give us Canada v Netherlands and England v Spain in the Cup semis (fascinating battles), Russia v Australia and China v USA in the Plate (rather predictable!), and Brazil v Japan and Hong Kong v Tunisia in the Bowl.
We may have to get used to lots of Canada v England finals this year!