Photo: FIH/Getty Images
The Vantage Black Sticks Men are now officially qualified for the Men’s Hockey World Cup in India next year.
The Kiwis finished sixth at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg, meaning they faced an anxious wait to see if that was good enough to earn them qualification to the World Cup which runs from 28 November to 16 December 2018 in Bhubaneswar.
Recent results at the Pan American Cup, currently taking place in 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 coming second and fifth respectively at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in London, then the place is offered to the next highest finisher in the competition - in this case New Zealand.
The Men's Hockey World Cup 2018 will be New Zealand's 10th appearance at the World Cup. The team's highest finishing position is seventh – a position they have reached on four occasions, including the most recent edition in 2014.
There are still four more continental qualifiers to be played and four more World Cup places remain up for grabs.
The continental qualifiers include Euro Hockey Championships, Oceania Cup, Asia Cup and Africa Cup of Nations.
CLICK HERE to visit the FIH Hockey World Cup website.