India would be looking to win their second World Cup title this time.
The 2023 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup is set to begin on January 13 in Bhubaneswar, Rourkela. This will be the 15th edition of the World Cup with Belgium winning the last edition. They won the final on penalties 3-2 against the Netherlands in 2018 which was also held in India. With the World Cup around the corner, let us take a look at some of India’s finest performances in Hockey World Cup history. Here they are:
The 1971 edition of the World Cup was a special one for India as they finished third in the tournament. That was a big feat with the teams like Spain, France, and West Germany on the other end. The Men in Blue were in Pool A with Kenya, West Germany, France and Argentina. They won all their group-stage games to enter the next round. However, a loss against Pakistan in the semi-final ended their hopes of listing the title.
The team lost 1-2 against Men in Green, who eventually went on to become the champions that year. Rajwinder Singh Rai scored the only goal for India in this crucial clash. The Indians, however, won against Kenya in the third-place match to make this World Cup a memorable one.
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With India in Pool A, it was a tough one for them with Spain, New Zealand and West Germany also competing in the same group. But the Indians had some other plans as they managed to finish in the top four after beating Japan, Kenya, and Spain. Team India did not lose a single group game as their encounter against West Germany and New Zealand finished in a draw.
India passed a tough test against Pakistan in the semifinals as they beat the arch-rivals 1-0 to enter the final. History was just one step away, but the hosts Netherlands defeated them in penalties (4-2). Millions of hearts were broken that day.
As they say, one must keep on trying to achieve your dreams and this is what happened in the 1975 World Cup. India lifted the trophy after some phenomenal performances. The Indian team were in Pool B this time with the top leaders of the game including West Germany, Australia, Ghana, England, and Argentina. This group was a tough one, but our men managed to top the group stage with three victories in five games. The pick of the game was a match against Ghana where India won 7-0 in the battle. Mohinder Singh from India scored thrice in that game.
The best part of the World Cup came in the knockouts where India played Malaysia in the semifinal. A 3-2 victory against Malaysia witnessed one of the most memorable clashes of all time in the finals. Yes, it was India vs Pakistan in the final with the Men in Blue grabbing victory 2-1 in the end. This World Cup victory was even more special as they beat arch-rivals in the grand finale. To date, it is India’s only World Cup victory.
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