Ipoh, Malaysia: India were virtually assured of a berth in next year's World Cup after arch-rivals Pakistan suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of South Korea in the first semifinal of the ninth Asia Cup here on Friday.
The defeat means Pakistan have missed the bus to the World Cup, which is to be held at The Hague, Netherlands, for the first time since the introduction of the event in 1971.
Only three more World Cup spots are up for grabs as nine teams have already secured their berths. And India and Malaysia more or less can heave a sigh of relief now as both the teams have almost booked their places for the mega-event along side South Korea, who took the eighth berth after Argentina won the Pan American Cup recently. Even if they fail to win here, India and Malaysia would officially secure their World Cup berths after the end of the Oceania Championships, which either Australia or New Zealand is expected to win.