Following a successful hosting of the 1974 edition, the world body of field hockey, FIH, decided to continue with the format, and soon enough, in 1976, they turned up with another edition of the FIH Women's Hockey World Cup, almost around the same time the Montreal Olympics were to begin. Women's hockey at Olympics was still 4 years away from their official debut at Moscow 1980, so the 1976 edition
Group stages: A drab affair:-
Unlike the previous edition, this World Cup was predominantly a Europe cum American affair, with Nigeria being the only other team from a different continent to make it to this edition. Contrary to the expectations, no Asian team, not even India, the previous edition's semifinalists, was invited for this competition, held at West Berlin in West Germany.
Likewise, the group stages were a drab affair as well, with no serious competition to the previous edition's podium finishers, i.e. the Netherlands, West Germany and Argentina at all. The only exceptions were Belgium and France, who surprised many a team throughout their journey. Belgium even managed to enter the final four, in the same fashion as Team India did in the 1974 edition.
Semifinals: Argentina sweat it out for the finals' berth:-
The real tussle for the top honours came up in the semifinals. Though the results of the first semifinal between West Germany and Belgium came on expected lines, with West Germany beating the Belgians by 3-0, Argentina literally had to sweat it out against the Netherlands to storm into finals. Argentina finally defeated the Netherlands by 4-3 on penalty strokes to enter their 2nd successive finals.
West Germany change their medal colour in the finals:-
Argentina looked forward to change the colour of their silver medal for the previous edition. Unfortunately, they couldn't overcome their final phobia this time as well, as Germany comprehensively defeated them by 2-0 to win their first ever Women's World Cup. With that, they also changed the colour of their medal received in the previous edition when they had won a bronze medal, defeating India by 1-0.
On the other hands, Netherlands, knocked out of contention for the finals, had nothing to lose as they went all out against Belgium, and defeating them by a solitary goal, the Dutch team managed to stay on the podium for a 2nd consecutive time, even if the medal's color had changed this time.Published 14 Jul 2018, 13:03 IST