A surprising name tops the list of countries.
The FIH Hockey World Cup is just a month away and will come to us from Bhuvaneshwar and Rourkela, India. It will kick off on 13th January and wrap up on 29th of the same month. So the Indians will be more than eager to prove their worth on the international stage on their home turf. Coach Graham Reid will also have a lot of work on his hands, especially after the test-series loss in Australia.
The Australians beat the Indians 4-1 in a five-match test series down under and that will surely be on the Men in Blue’s minds. The Indian team would have to ensure not to repeat the mistakes that they made against the Aussies. India’s performance at the World Cup has been below par over the last four decades. So this is something that would very much motivate the Tokyo Olympics Bronze medal winners to perform well.
Belgium is the defending champion this year. Today we are going to look into the past winners of the FIH World Cup. These nations have had the privilege of lifting the World Cup. More so, some of these nations have done it more than thrice. Here are their names:
India and Belgium – 1 title
Both India and Belgium have won the World Cup once. India won it way back in 1975, beating Pakistan 2-1 in the finals. Ashok Kumar, son of the legendary Dhyan Chand, scored the winning goal for India. This was also unfortunately the last edition in which India finished in the top four of the World Cup.
Plenty of chances but no finished product
Belgium is the defending champion and won the World Cup in 2018 in Bhubaneshwar. Belgium beat Netherlands in the final via a penalty shootout and was crowned champions for the first time.
Germany – 3 titles
Germany won the FIH World Cup twice in consecutive fashion. They beat Australia 2-1 in the finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2002. The Honamas followed it up in 2006. Coincidentally, this time as well it was the Australians who played against them. This time around their game was even more intense.
Both the teams went back and forth. Eventually, it was the Germans who prevailed. Trailing at 3-1 at one point, the Germans fought back. The match finally ended 4-3 for them. Christopher Zeller (18′, 54′), Moritz Furste (46′) and Bjorn Emmerling (49′) were the goalscorers. Germany won the 2023 edition by defeating the 2020 Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Belgium.
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Australia and Netherlands – 3 titles
Australia became champions for the first time in 1986. They beat England 2-1 in their homeland to achieve this feat. Their next two wins came in 2010 in New Delhi and in 2014 at Hague.
Australia’s win in Delhi came in a somewhat conservative game. The Kookaburras won the game 2-1. On the contrary, their next FIH World Cup final win was pure savagery. The Aussies dismantled the Dutch side on their soil in a ruthless fashion. Christopher Ciriello scored a hattrick for the Aussies in that game, helping his side win 6-1.
Netherlands won the second edition of the World Cup in 1978, beating India on penalties. They won their second title in 1990, this time beating India’s arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 in Lahore. Their last title win came in 1988 when they beat Spain 3-2 in extra time. The Dutch played two finals after that in 2014 and 2018. Unfortunately, they ended up as runner-up both these times.
Nobody dominated the FIH Hockey World Cup quite like Pakistan. The Green Machines have literally had an era to themselves. Pakistan became the inaugural champions winning the 1971 World Cup, beating Spain (1-0). They followed it up with two consecutive victories in 1978 and 1982 in Buenos Aires and Bombay (Mumbai) respectively. This time around it was Netherlands and West Germany’s turn to fall to the might of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s last title win came in 1994. They defeated the Dutch via a penalty shootout in that game, claiming their fourth World Cup title. The victory also inadvertently ended an era for Pakistan in hockey as since then Pakistan did not even finish in the top 4.
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