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Which are the nations to have won the Hockey Asia Cup so far ?

Published at :June 1, 2022 at 3:30 AM
Modified at :June 3, 2022 at 12:03 AM
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The Men's Hockey Asia Cup is currently underway and has reached its semi-final stages. India, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea are the four teams to qualify for the final four. Defending champions India will go head to head against South Korea. On the other hand, Japan will take on Malaysia. The GBK Hockey field in Jakarta is bound to expect some fireworks when these four heavyweights collide. The tournament that started with the top 8 Asian teams is going to reach its climax on the 1st of June.

The tournament has surely not disappointed so far. We have witnessed a total of 123 goals at the rate of 6.83 per game. A staggering scoring spree from all teams involved has made the contest even more exciting. The teams went all out as there is a lot at stake in the tournament. The top 3 teams will qualify for the 2023 Men's FIH Hockey World Cup. This is the 11th edition of the tournament and has so far produced three different Asian champions. Today we are going to take a closer look at these past winners and their journey along the way.

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Pakistan (1982,1985,1989)

Pakistan were the inaugural champions of the Men's Hockey Asia Cup.Moreover they are the only team in history to win the Asia Cup thrice consecutively.The Green Machines won their first Asia Cup trophy in 1982 over arch rivals India in their homeland. Pakistan won it's second edition in Dhaka in 1985 and the final one in 1989 in New Delhi.Ironically all the three wins came against India.

Pakistan were at their absolute best in 1950. Their attack was on fire and defense the meanest of the lot.The team scored 51 goals and conceded just once. No team could keep up with them. In 1985 Pakistan's performance was also noteworthy. They were not as ruthless as before but in spite of that led every other team because of their skill and technique. Only India were able to score against them in the entire tournament. Despite that they couldn't succeed. Pakistan won that game 3-2.courtesy of Hanif Khan, Mushtaq Ahmad and Kaleemullah Khan.

Pakistan's last successful exploit was probably the sweetest. The Green Shirts lifted the title in New Delhi, India beating India 2-0 in the finals. Since then Pakistan has finished twice in the runners up position.

South Korea (1994,1999,2009,2013,2022)

South Korea emerged as the new superpower in Asian Hockey in 1994. India and Pakistan were already established as hockey nations by then. However, the sudden and meteoritic rise of Korea's powers in hockey was a good sign for Asian hockey in general. Korea won its debut title in 1994 in Hiroshima Japan. Followed by their second title in 1999 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Their third title came in Kuantan, Malaysia in 2009. Their final title came in 2013 yet again in Ipoh, Malaysia. So far South Korea is the all-time leader in the number of trophies Asia. South Korea has defeated both India and Pakistan twice in the finals. Their last final in 2013 was the most interesting.  Hosted in the Azlan Shah Stadium it saw South Korea edging past India with a 4-3 scoreline.

The teams were both equally poised at 3-3 after back and forth goals from both sides. However a 68th minute goal from Kan Moon-Kweon tilted the game in Korea's favour. Jang Jong-hyun also became the leading scorer in the tournament with 8 goals to his name.

India (2003,2007,2017)

Finally, we come down to the defending champions of this year's Hockey Asia Cup tournament. Despite having great success at the Olympics by then India's fortune in the tournament wasn't the best. India lost four consecutive games in the finals. Thrice against Pakistan and once against South Korea. However, things took a turn in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur.

Despite losing in the group stages against Pakistan (2-4) the Indian team came back strong.  Their earlier losses had probably toughened them up. Even though the Indians were trailing 2-1 at one stage the men did not lose hope. The team fought back through brilliant goals courtesy of Gagan Ajit Singh, Ignacious Tirkey, and Prabhjot Singh. India finally won their first Asia Cup trophy with a 4-2 scoreline.

In 2007 the team triumphed over South Korea in the finals. The undefeated Indians blazed through Korean defense and won the final game 7-0 lead. The 2017 finals with Malaysia was however more restrained. India won the game 2-1 as Ramandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay gave the team that the Malaysians couldn't catch up to.

Till today India are the only team to play eight finals in the competition. A feat they would want to repeat this year and probably do more. That is to equal Korea with four cup titles to their name.

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