New Zealand men’s hockey team have become the latest team to qualify for the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup, Bhubaneswar, 2018.
The Black Sticks, ranked eighth in the world, finished in sixth position in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg, meaning they faced an anxious wait to see if that was good enough to earn them qualification to the blue riband event that takes place in India next year from 28 November to 16 December.
The results at the Pan American Cup, currently taking place at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have gone in favour of the Black Sticks as both teams in the Pan Am Cup final – Argentina and Canada – have already qualified for the World Cup via the Hockey World League route.
Under FIH regulations, the team that wins its continental qualifier automatically qualifies for the World Cup. If that team has already qualified by finishing in the top five of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals – as both Argentina and Canada did by finishing second and fifth at the London Hockey World League Semi-Finals respectively – then the place is offered to the next highest finisher in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, in this case, New Zealand.
There are still four more continental qualifiers to be played so four more places at the World Cup are up for grabs.
The continental qualifiers are: Men’s Rabobank EuroHockey Championships 19-27 August 2017; Oceania Cup 9-15 October (final dates to be confirmed); Hero Men’s Asia Cup 11-22 October 2017, Men’s Africa Cup of Nations 19 / 29 October (final dates to be confirmed).