Indian men's hockey team on Sunday officially qualified for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague (NED), according to the latest release issued by the FIH.
Their participation in next year's showpiece event – which takes place in the hugely impressive 15,000 capacity Kyocera Stadium between 31 May and 15 June 2014 – was sealed following the completion of the men's and women's Oceania Cup continental championships in Stratford, New Zealand on Sunday.
Like all of the continental championships, the big prize on offer for the winners of the men's and women's Oceania Cup tournaments was direct qualification to the World Cup.
However, with both Australian teams having already achieved World Cup qualification thanks to strong performances in the Hockey World League semi-finals, the door was subsequently opened to the teams that finished outside the top three at the HWL Semi-Finals that had not yet qualified for the World Cup.
India men's sixth place finish at the Rabobank HWL Semi Final in Rotterdam has proven to be enough for their participation, while the women of Belgium – sixth place finishers in the women's competition in Rotterdam – have also been handed their ticket to the World Cup party.
A total of 22 teams (11 men / 11 women) have now qualified for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, with just two more places left to fill. The remaining berths will be taken by the winners of the rescheduled Men's and Women's Africa Cup of Nations, which takes place from 18-24 November in Nairobi, Kenya.
Netherlands: Hosts; Germany: Continental Champions Europe; Argentina: Continental Champions Pan America; Korea: Continental Champions Asia; Australia: Continental Champions Oceania; England: 3rd place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS); Belgium: 1st place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED); New Zealand: 4th place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED); Spain: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED); Malaysia: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS); India: 6th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED).
Image: Sardar Singh
Photograph: Will Russell/Getty Images