The Hockey World Cup is an international field hockey
competition organised by the International Hockey
Federation (FIH). The tournament was started in 1971. It
is held every four years, bridging the four years
between the Summer Olympics.
There is also a Women’s Hockey World Cup, which has been
held since 1974 and was organised by the International
Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) until
1981, when the governing bodies merged into the current
International Hockey Federation in 1982.
Five countries have dominated the event’s history.
Pakistan is the most successful team, having won the
tournament four times. The Netherlands have won three
titles, and Germany and Australia have each won two
titles. India won the tournament once.
The 2010 Hockey World Cup was held in India from
February 28 to March 13 at New Delhi’s Dhyan Chand
National Stadium. Australia defeated Germany 2–1 in the
final, to win their second World Cup title. The 2014
tournament will be held in The Hague, Netherlands from
June 2–14, 2014.
The Hockey World Cup was first conceived by Pakistan’s
Air Marshal Nur Khan. He proposed his idea to the FIH
under the name of Patrick Rowley, the first editor of
World Hockey magazine. Their idea was approved on
October 26, 1969, and adopted by the FIH Council at a
meeting in Brussels on April 12, 1970. The FIH decided
that the inaugural World Cup would be held in October
1971, in Pakistan.
However, political issues would prevent that first
competition from being played in Pakistan. Pakistan and
India had been at war with each other only six years
earlier. When Pakistan invited India to compete in the
tournament, a crisis arose. Pakistanis, led by cricketer
Abdul Hafeez Kardar, protested against India’s
participation in the Hockey World Cup.
Given the intense political climate between Pakistan and
India, the FIH decided to move the tournament elsewhere.
In March 1971, the FIH decided to move the first Hockey
World Cup to the Real Club de Polo grounds in Barcelona,
Spain, which was considered a neutral and peaceful
The FIH has set no requirements or limitations on the
size of the competition. The 1971 Cup included only ten
nations, the smallest World Cup to date. The 1978 Cup
featured fourteen nations. The 2002 Cup featured sixteen
nations, the largest World Cup to date. The remaining 9
World Cups have featured 12 nations.
The first three tournaments were held every two years.
The 1978 Cup was the only tournament held three years
from the previous tournament. Since 1982, the tournament
has been held every four years, halfway between the
Summer Olympics field hockey competition.
Successful National Teams
Twenty-four teams have qualified for a Hockey World Cup.
Of these, eleven teams have made it to the semifinals.
Seven teams have made it through to the finals. To date,
Pakistan has been the most successful team in the World
Cup, with four titles from six appearances in the final.
The Netherlands have also been successful, with three
titles from five appearances in the final.
Germany has been the most successful team in the World
Cup in recent years. They won the tournament in 2002 and
2006. In addition, Germany has reached the semifinals in
every World Cup except for the inaugural tournament in
1971. Australia has broken the German dream of winning
World Cup for third time in a row in 2010 and now have
won 2 titles. India have won their lone title in 1975.