AFTER much talk and waiting, the 2022 Commonwealth Games has finally arrived, and the best international netball teams from across the globe will face off for ultimate glory.
Twelve nations have earned their right to participate in these games, split into two pools, with the reigning Commonwealth and World Champions England and New Zealand in one and the reigning silver medallists from both tournaments Australia in the other.
The expectations of all of the countries at these games are no doubt as diverse as the people they represent, but one thing remains common between them all – to come home with the gold in just over a week’s time.
The four favourites heading into the tournament are no doubt the top four from both the last Commonwealth Games and World Cup – Australia, England, Jamaica and New Zealand – but countries like Malawi and South Africa will certainly try and push these four and cause a bit of an upset along the way.
However, it is the first major tournament since the Covid-19 pandemic, so it is unclear how much of an impact the pandemic will have on competition in Birmingham. No doubt some of the athletes have unfortunately caught the virus, plus countries like Australia have had limited international netball in the last few years, so it remains to be seen how much of an impact all of that will have on how the respective teams will go.
It all kicks off tonight Australian time with host nation England are up against Trinidad and Tobago, followed by the Aussies taking on Barbados, Jamaica taking on Wales and New Zealand taking on Northern Ireland.
These four matches may seem very lopsided on paper, but will definitely be a good indication of where all eight countries sit.
You can read the full tournament schedule here and check out below all of the individual country previews of the teams competing at Birmingham 2022.