[img_assist|nid=8038|title=NZ vs Korea- www.photosport.co.nz|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=140]The Black Sticks Men have secured a spot at the 2014 Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands after England edged Korea in this morning’s bronze medal match at the World League Round Three tournament in Malaysia.
After finishing fourth at the World League Round Three event in Rotterdam, the Black Sticks are now confirmed qualifiers for the World Cup by virtue of being the highest ranked of the two fourth place finishers across both World League Round Three tournaments. The Black Sticks are ranked 6th in the world ahead of Korea who are 8th.
If England had lost, the Kiwis would have needed to beat Australia at the Oceania Cup in Taranaki in October to clinch a spot at the World Cup.
As highest ranked fourth place finisher, the Black Sticks also qualify for the men’s World League Final to be contested in India in January.
Head coach Colin Batch said qualifying for the World Cup as well as the World League Final was a good reward for his improving side.
“It’s certainly well deserved, we showed a lot of development in our preparation to and during World League Round Three. It wasn’t easy but I’m very glad we have qualified,” he said.
“While we have achieved qualification, we know we still have a lot of work to do to get to the level we need, and that’s the challenge for the coaching staff and players.
“The great thing about qualifying for the World League Final is that we can use that tournament as important preparation in the lead up to the World Cup.”
The Black Sticks Men join the Black Sticks Women who have also qualified for the 2014 World Cup, which runs from 31 May – 15 June in The Hague, Netherlands.
Both the Black Sticks Men and Women now have a break from national trainings, returning to their regions of origin to prepare for the Ford National Hockey League which starts on August 10th.