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Men's Hockey World Cup

Top 10 facts about FIH Men's Hockey World Cup

Published at :December 29, 2022 at 6:53 PM
Modified at :January 12, 2023 at 8:46 AM
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SouravGanguly


The upcoming edition of the quadrennial tournament will begin on January 13th.

The upcoming Men's FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 is less than a month away. It will be held at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneshwar and the Birsa Munda international hockey stadium in Rourkela, India. It will kick off on the 13th of January and wrap up on the 29th of the same month. A total of 16 teams are going to participate this year divided into four groups. Four groups will consist of four teams each.

Hosts India finds themselves in Group D along with England, Spain and Wales. This will the 15th edition of the tournament which has a very rich history. So today we are going to divulge some of the lesser-known facts about the Men's World Cup. Find out about how it came about being an elite hockey tournament whose grandeur can match the glory of the Olympics. Have a look back on its journey down the road.

Here are the top ten facts about the FIH Men's World Cup.

1. The tournament changed its format

The FIH Men's Hockey World Cup started off as a biennial tournament. After its inception in 1971, the successive World Cup happened in 1973. In 1978 the tournament happened after a gap of three years for the first time. However, in 1982 the tournament went to be contested in the format we know today.

However, after many years that continuity got broken because of the better bid from Hockey India to host the event in January 2023, instead of in 2022. As a result, the FIH had no other alternative but to reschedule the event from 2022 to 2023.

2. More inclusion of teams over the years

The FIH has set no requirements or limitations on the size of the competition. The 1971 Cup included only 10 nations. It was the smallest World Cup. The 1978 Cup featured 14 nations. 2002, and 2018 Cups featured 16 nations. The remaining 10 World Cups have featured 12 nations.

There were talks about raising the number of teams to 24 in the 2023 edition of the World Cup. However, that change will not be happening.

3. Pakistan have won the tournament the most number of times

Pakistan holds the record for having the most number of World Cup wins in their resume. They won the inaugural edition in 1971 beating Spain 1-0 in their opponent's backyard in Barcelona.

The Green Machines won consecutively after that in 1978 and 1982 beating the Netherlands and West Germany respectively. Their last victory came in 1994. Pakistan beat the Dutch yet again in this encounter to capture their fourth World Cup.

4. Pakistan's Nur Khan conceived the idea of the World Cup

Pakistan's Air Marshall Nur Khan made his proposition of the World Cup to the FIH via the editor of the World Hockey Magazine, Patrick Rowley. Their idea was approved on 26 October 1969 and adopted by the FIH Council at a meeting in Brussels on 12 April 1970. The FIH decided that the inaugural World Cup would be held in October 1971, in Pakistan.

5. The inaugural tournament had a change of venue

As stated above the debut world cup was supposed to be held in Pakistan in 1971. On the contrary, it was not to be. This was the time of the Bangladesh Liberation War and India and Pakistan had fought a full-fledged war only six years earlier. So when Pakistan invited India to compete it created a predicament for both nations.

As such to avoid tensions amidst the political turmoil the FIH chose to change the venue. It was then held at the Real Club de Polo Grounds in Barcelona, Spain.

6. The Hockey World Cup trophy was designed by Bashir Moojid

Bashir Moojid created the Hockey World Cup trophy. Moojid was an Air Marshall in the Pakistani Army. The trophy was formally handed to FIH President Rene Frank by Mr H.E Masood, the Pakistani Ambassador to Belgium on 27th March 1971. The trophy comprises a silver cup with an intricate floral design, surmounted by a globe of the world in silver and gold.

It is placed on a high blade base and inlaid with ivory.  At its peak is a model hockey stick and ball.

7. The forefathers of the World Cup not participating in 2023

Pakistan played a big role in organising the inaugural Hockey World Cup. And they even dominated the world of hockey for the better part of the previous few decades. However, the situation has changed considerably now. The Green Machines who were once the heavyweights of the world of hockey, now struggle to qualify for the tier 1 competitions. Pakistan won't play in the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup 2023.

Pakistan also doesn't get to participate in the FIH Men's Pro League, the league of the best nine hockey-playing nations in the world. They played in the recently concluded FIH Nations Cup 2022 and finished in a lowly position.

8. Netherlands are better at hockey than football

The country Netherlands in the sporting world is known for its football teams. The nation holds a startling record of participating in most FIFA World Cup finals without winning one. However, that is not the case for the Dutch in hockey. The Oranje have won the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup thrice in their history. Their most recent win came in the 1998 edition of the FIH World Cup. Interestingly, one of their wins came in 1973, the year the Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff rocked everyone's world and won the Ballon d'Or.

9. Only two teams have won the tournament as host nations

To date, nine nations have hosted the world cup. However, only the Netherlands and Germany have managed to win it. Germany did it in 2006 in Monchengladbach courtesy of a 54th-minute goal by Christopher Zeller. The goal helped the Honamas get a 4-3 lead and eventual victory.

The Dutch were in fact the first team to win as hosts in 1973. They beat India in the second edition of the tournament in Amstelveen. Their next victory came in 1998 in Utrecht. This time around they beat Spain 3-2 after extra time.

10. Europe has won the most medals in the Continental Zones

The Continent of Europe has the most number of World Cup medals in their tally. They have a total of six titles to their name. Out of which the Netherlands won three, Germany won two and Belgium. The Red Lions were in fact the latest addition after winning the world cup in the last edition in 2018.

Europe is followed by Asia which has won five titles. Out of these four titles belong to Pakistan and one to India. Oceania is next with its three titles. Ironically all those titles belong to Australia. America and Africa are yet to open their account.

So will this be the year to produce a new continental champion? Or will it go the usual way? Whatever the pattern the world cup is surely going to be exciting. So let the games begin.

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