The 14th edition of the Men's Hockey World Cup will be held in Bhubaneswar from 28th November to 16th December 2018. This is the most prestigious tournament, in the game of field hockey, after the Olympics. The first edition of the Hockey World Cup was held in 1971, in Barcelona, Spain. The tournament was initially held after every two years. But from 1982 onward, it is held after every 4 years.
In the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1971, Pakistan came out victorious by beating hosts Spain in the final. In the 13 previous editions of the tournament held so far, as many as five countries have won the tournament and 11 countries have managed to finish in the top 3.
In this article, we look at the five most successful teams in the history of this tournament.
The Indian hockey team has a glorious past, with as many as 8 Olympic Gold medals in their kitty, which is till date a record. However in the World Cup, India's record has been below par. They have managed to win the tournament, only once, in 1975, in Malaysia.
In the 1975 finals, India beat their arch rivals, Pakistan by 2-1 margin, to win the title. In 1973, they managed to reach the finals, but could not win it. They were beaten by hosts Netherlands, by 4-2 margin, in penalty shootout. In the 1st edition of the tournament, India finished third, after losing out to Pakistan in the semifinals.
However in the last ten editions of the tournament, India has failed to win a single medal. With the emergence of countries like Germany, Netherlands, Australia, England and Argentina, Indian hockey team lost its supremacy. However in the last few years, the Indian team is again making a comeback. They are back among the top five hockey nations.
With home advantage in their favour, India can definitely hope to win a medal in the upcoming 2018 edition.
World Cup Titles: 1 (1975); Runners-up: 1 (1973); Third Place: 1 (1971)
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Germany has been one of the most successful field hockey teams in the history of the game. They have won as many as 8 medals in the 13 editions, held so far. They won their first medal in the second edition of the tournament in 1973 and followed it up with another bronze in the next edition.
However for their first World Cup title, they had to wait till 2002. In the 10th edition of the tournament in 2002, Germany beat Australia by 2-1 margin, in the finals, to win the tournament. They defended their title in 2006, and finished runners up in the next edition in 2010.
Germany could not win a medal in the last edition of the World Cup. So in the 2018 World Cup, they will be eager to win a medal again.
World Cup Titles: 2 (2002, 2006); Runners-up: 2 (1982, 2010); Third Place: 4 (1973, 1975, 1986 and 1998)
Champions of the last two editions of the World Cup and the present World Number 1, Australia has been the best hockey team in recent times. In the last two decades, they have stamped their authority on the global area.
Australia have reached the finals of the World Cup in the last four editions and won the title on two occasions. Their first title came in 1986. After that, in the next seven editions, they have managed to finish in the medals bracket six times.
In the 2018 edition, Australia is coming into the tournament as favourites ready to defend their title.
World Cup Titles: 3 (1986, 2010 and 2014); Runners-up: 2 (2002, 2006); Third Place: 4 (1978, 1982, 1990 and 1994)
Netherlands is one of the most successful European hockey nations. They have won the tournament three times. In the 1990s, Netherlands were the best men's hockey team in the world. During this period, they won the title twice and ended runners up once.
In the last couple of decades, Netherlands have failed to win the title. So in this year's tournament, they will try and reclaim the World Cup crown after a gap of 20 years.
World Cup Titles: 3 (1973, 1990 and 1998); Runners-up: 3 (1978, 1994 and 2014); Third Place: 2 (2002, 2010)
With four World Cup titles in their bag, Pakistan are the most successful team in the history of the tournament. In the 1970s and 1980s, Pakistan were the best hockey team in the world. It was during this period that they won 3 of their 4 titles.
However with the emergence of Netherlands, Germany and Australia, Pakistan lost their supremacy. They managed to win their last title in 1994 by beating favourites Netherlands in the final.
In the last two decades, Pakistan has failed to win a single medal in the tournament that they once dominated. In the 2018 edition, they have to punch above their weight if they are to win a medal.
World Cup Titles: 4 (1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994); Runners-up: 2 (1975, 1990)