The FIH announced today the match schedule for the Rabo Champions Trophy 2011 (women) to be played in Amsterdam, Netherlands from June 25 – July 3. It will be the 18th edition of the event and one that is seeing a major change to its format. Instead of the traditional six-team round robin, the 2011 edition has been expanded to include eight teams, creating a new playing modus for the event. “There was a lot of talk about expanding this tournament to include eight teams,” said FIH Competitions Manager Martyn Gallivan. “When you look at the strength and depth of the women’s game at the moment, this was the right time to test the expansion waters.”

The teams will be split into two preliminary round groups of four teams each. Group A will feature Argentina, China, England and Korea while Group B includes the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. The top two teams from each group will then move onto Group C, while the bottom two teams will go to Group D. Essentially, once a team lands in Group C, it will be eligible to play for a medal. Meanwhile, teams in Group D will only have the chance to play for final placement. Once in Group C or Group D, teams will play another round robin, with the results from the previous round’s match carrying over for the teams that have already met. Following this second round robin group, the top two Group C finishers will play for the gold medal, while the third and fourth place finishers will play for the bronze. Similarly in Group D, the top two round robin finishers will play for 5th place, while the bottom two will meet in the 7th-place game. The preliminary round group play will take place from June 25-28 over three competition days. China and Korea kick off the action with a 9:00 game on the 25th. The second round will commence on June 30th and will also run over a three-day period before the medal games are played on Sunday, July 3.

Argentina enters the event as the defending champion, with host Netherlands looking to improve on its 2010 silver medal finish. Rounding out the 2010 medalists was England, which took home the bronze.