6th November 2017: Belgium women have qualified for the Hockey World Cup for the sixth time in its history following Malaysia’s defeat at the hands of Japan in the Women’s Asia Cup, which is currently being played in Gifu, Japan.
Belgium’s place was confirmed when the host nation defeated Malaysia in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Asia Cup, dispelling Malaysia’s hopes of winning the continental championship and thus qualifying for the Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018.
Under FIH regulations, the team that wins its continental qualifier automatically qualifies for the World Cup. However, all four semi-finalists – Japan, Korea, China and India – in the Women’s Asia Cup have already qualified via the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Brussels and Johannesburg earlier this year
This means a World Cup qualification spot has opened up for Belgium, who were next in line to claim their place in London.
The ‘Red Panthers’, who are 14th in the FIH Hero World Rankings, finished eighth at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Belgium in June, a position that left them waiting on other results to find out if they had qualified.
It has been a long wait for Belgium, who have claimed the final qualification spot at the Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018, as their qualification was dependent upon who won each of the five continental championships and whether the winning team of each had already qualified for the World Cup.
Now Belgium can also look forward to playing in the blue riband competition and they will be hoping to improve on their 2014 performance, where they lost to England on shoot-out to finish in 12th position. It will be Belgium’s sixth appearance at the Women’s Hockey World Cup, with their bronze medal in 1978 place at the 1994 event in Madrid being their best finishing position to date.
The Women’s Hockey World Cup will be held at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England from 21 July to 5 August 2018.
Belgium join hosts England, Italy, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands as the European line-up at the Women’s World Cup!
Photograph: Belgium v The Netherlands in the Final of the Rabo EuroHockey Championships 2017 (EHF/Frank Uijlenbroek (c))