The Pakistan men’s hockey team has become the 13th team to qualify for the World Cup 2018, the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) announced on Thursday.
Ranked 14th in the FIH rankings, Pakistan had finished seventh in the Hockey World League Semi-Final in London earlier this year, meaning they did not immediately qualify for the upcoming world cup in India.
However, the results at the EuroHockey Championships, currently underway in Amsterdam, Netherlands, "have gone very much in favour of Pakistan, with all four of the semi-finalists having already qualified for the World Cup via the Hockey World League route," FIH said in a statement.
The "team that wins its continental qualifier automatically qualifies for the World Cup. However, the semi-finals of the European continental qualifier will be contested by Germany, England, Netherlands and Belgium," who have already qualified for the cup.
"This means that the World Cup ticket goes to the highest placed finisher from the Hockey World League Semi-Finals that has not already achieved World Cup qualification. Pakistan are the higher ranked of the two seventh place finishers" and will, therefore, get their ticket to the cup despite less-than-stellar performances.
Pakistan is joining hosts India, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, Spain and New Zealand.
Pakistan, which failed to qualify for the event in 2014, has won four world cups, more than any other nation.
"The final three men's World Cup qualification places will be decided by the outcomes of the upcoming Continental Championship events in Oceania (Oct 9-15, 2017), Asia (Oct 17-22, 2017), and Africa (Oct 19-29, 2017)."