The 13th edition of the Men's Hockey World Cup will start on 31 May with defending champions Australia taking on Malaysia in the inaugural match, which is to be held in The Hague, Netherlands.
The final will be held in The Hague's Kyocera Stadion on 15 June. IBTimes UK brings you everything you need to know about this year's tournament, organised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Qualification to Hockey World Cup
As many as 12 nations take part in the 13th edition of the Hockey World Cup. The host nation got a direct entry into the tournament, along with five other continental champions.
While the Netherlands qualified for the 2014 Men's Hockey World Cup as the host nation, the winners of last year's Hockey Africa Cup of Nations, Pan American Cup, EuroHockey Nations Championship, Hockey Asia Cup, Oceania Cup also made it to the tournament as continental champions.
South Africa defeated Egypt to win the 2013 Hockey African Cup of Nations in Nairobi as they represent Africa. The 2013 Oceania Cup was won by Australia, while Argentina sealed a place in this year's World Cup after winning the 2013 Pan American Cup.
Germany and South Korea made it to The Hague after winning the 2013 EuroHockey Nations Championship and 2013 Hockey Asia Cup, respectively.
The remaining six nations were selected by the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in which 16 teams took part in two sets of eight teams each.
While one set of competitions took place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the remaining eight teams played in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
The top six highest placed teams from this, excluding the host nation and the five continental champions, qualified for the Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands.
These six nations are Belgium, New Zealand, Spain, India, England and Malaysia.
Matches in the 2014 Hockey World Cup will be held at two venues in the Netherlands, Kyocera Stadion and GreenFields Stadium.
The point system comes into the picture only during the group stages. The team that wins the game will be awarded three points, while a draw fetches one point each to the teams. No points are awarded in case of a defeat.
For the group stages, the teams are divided into Pool A and Pool B.
Pool A includes defending champion Australia, England, Belgium, India, Spain and Malaysia.
Pool B has Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina and South Africa
The top two teams of Pool A and Pool B will face each other in the semi-final clash.
The table topper of Pool A will face the team that finishes second in Pool B. Similarly, the winner of Pool B will take on the team that finishes second in Pool A.
The winners of the respective semifinal fixtures will face each other in the final on 15 June. Meanwhile, the losers of both the semifinal clashes will face each other for the third and fourth places.
The matches to determine fifth and sixth places will be played as follows:
3rd pool A v 3rd pool B
The matches to determine seventh and eighth places will be played as follows:
4th pool A v 4th pool B
The matches to determine ninth and tenth places will be played as follows
5th pool A v 5th pool B
The matches to determine eleventh and twelfth places will be played as follows
6th pool A v 6th pool B
Every match played in the Hockey World Cup will have 70 minutes, with a 10 minute break between two halves of 35 minutes each.
Teams are allowed to do as many substitutions as they choose. However, no team is allowed to make changes during a penalty corner or video referral.
In the knock-out phase of the tournament, if the scores are level after 70 minutes, the course of the game will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Each team will be allowed to pick five players and the team having a better conversion rate will be declared the winner. If there is a tie after both teams take their first five chances, the winner will be decided by sudden death.