China get maiden qualification for Hockey World Cup
Dhaka, Oct 22: China have qualified for the Hockey World Cup for the first time, thanks to favourable results at the ongoing Hero Asia Cup in Dhaka, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said on Sunday.
China's place was confirmed on Saturday when South Korea drew 1-1 with Malaysia, a result which put the Malaysians into the final against India.
Under FIH regulations, the team that wins its continental qualifier automatically qualifies for the 2018 World Cup. However, as both India, as hosts, and Malaysia — who finished fourth at the Hero Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final in London earlier this year — have already qualified for next year's showpiece, a World Cup qualification spot opened up for the team next in line that had not yet qualified for the event.
"That team was China, who take the ticket to Bhubaneswar, India courtesy of their eighth place finish in the World League Semi-Final in London," FIH said in a statement.
South Korea finished one place below Asia rivals China at the HWL event in London, a placement that was not going to be enough for a World Cup berth.
Winning the Hero Asia Cup 2017 was South Korea's final chance to achieve World Cup qualification, but that dream was ended in heartbreakingly dramatic fashion.
China are the 15th team to qualify for the World Cup, joining hosts India, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Spain and France at the prestigious 16-nation event.
The final men's World Cup qualification place will be decided by the outcome of the Africa Cup of Nations competition, which takes place between October 22-29 in Ismailia, Egypt.
The World Cup will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16, 2018.