Hockey World Cup

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Men's Hockey World Cup
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2014 Men's Hockey World Cup
Sport Field hockey
Founded 1971
No. of teams 12
Continent International (FIH)
Most recent champion(s)  Australia (3rd title)
Most titles  Pakistan (4 titles)
Official website

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 and Australia have won three titles, and Germany has each won two titles. India won the tournament once.

The 2014 tournament was held in The Hague, Netherlands from June 2 to 14.[1] Australia defeated Netherlands 6–1 in the final, to win their third World Cup title.[2] The 2018 tournament will be held in Bhubaneswar, India from 28 November to 16 December.[3][4] The World Cup will expand to 16 teams in 2018, and FIH will evaluate the possibility of increasing it to 24 in 2022.[5]


The Hockey World Cup was first conceived by Pakistan's Air Marshal Nur Khan. He proposed his idea to the FIH through 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. The FIH had inadvertently scheduled the first World Cup to be played in Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Furthermore, 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, coincidentally in the same month Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan, 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 European site.[6]

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 one. It was halfway between the Summer Olympics hockey competition and has continued that way. In other words, the tournament has been held every four years ever since.


The Hockey World Cup trophy was designed by the Bashir Moojid and created by the Pakistani Army. On March 27, 1971, in Brussels, the trophy was formally handed to FIH President Rene Frank by Mr H.E Masood, the Pakistani Ambassador to Belgium. The trophy consists of a silver cup with an intricate floral design, surmounted by a globe of the world in silver and gold, placed on a high blade base inlaid with ivory. At its peak is a model hockey stick and ball. Without its base, the trophy stands 120.85 mm (4.758 in) high. Including the base, the trophy stands 650 mm (26 in). It weighs 11,560 g (408 oz), including 895 g (31.6 oz) of gold, 6,815 g (240.4 oz) of silver, 350 g (12 oz) of ivory and 3,500 g (120 oz) of teak.[7]


The Hockey World Cup consists of a qualification stage and a final tournament stage. The format for each stage is the same.


The qualification stage has been a part of the Hockey World Cup since 1977. All participating teams play in the qualification round. The teams divide into two or more pools and compete for a berth in the final tournament. The top two teams are automatically qualified and the rest of the berths are decided in playoffs.

Final tournament

The final tournament features the continental champions and other qualified teams. Sometimes it also features the winners of the Summer Olympics' hockey competition or the continental runners-up. The teams divide into pools once more and play a round robin tournament. The composition of the pools is determined using the current world rankings. The top two teams in each pool play in the semifinals for a place in the final. The bottom two teams in the semifinals have a third place playoff. The rest of the teams have playoffs to determine their final positions. If they are third or fourth in their pool, they play for fifth place; if they are fifth or sixth in their pool, they play for ninth place.



Year Host Final Third place match
Winner Score Runner-up Third place Score Fourth place
Barcelona, Spain Template:Fh-big 1–0 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 2–1
after extra time
Amstelveen, Netherlands Template:Fh-big 2–2
Penalty strokes
Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 1–0 Template:Fh-big
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Template:Fh-big 2–1 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 4–0 Template:Fh-big
Buenos Aires, Argentina Template:Fh-big 3–2 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 4–3 Template:Fh-big
Bombay, India Template:Fh-big 3–1 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 4–2 Template:Fh-big
London, England Template:Fh-big 2–1 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 3–2
after extra time
Lahore, Pakistan Template:Fh-big 3–1 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 2–1
after extra time
Sydney, Australia Template:Fh-big 1–1
Penalty strokes
Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 5–2 Template:Fh-big
Utrecht, Netherlands Template:Fh-big 3–2
after extra time
Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 1–0 Template:Fh-big
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Template:Fh-big 2–1 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 2–1
after extra time
Mönchengladbach, Germany Template:Fh-big 4–3 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 3–2
after extra time
New Delhi, India Template:Fh-big 2–1 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 4–3 Template:Fh-big
The Hague, Netherlands Template:Fh-big 6–1 Template:Fh-big Template:Fh-big 2–0 Template:Fh-big
Bhubaneswar, India

Successful national teams

Field Hockey Titles

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 six appearances in the final.

Australia have been the most successful team in the World Cup in recent years. They won the tournament in 2010 and 2014, and now have three titles from five appearances in the final. Australia took the mantle from Germany who won in 2002 and 2006. India won their lone title in 1975.

Below is a list of teams that have finished in the top four positions in the tournament:

Team Titles Runners-up Third places Fourth places
 Pakistan 4 (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994) 2 (1975, 1990*) 1 (1973)
 Netherlands 3 (1973*, 1990, 1998*) 3 (1978, 1994, 2014*) 2 (2002, 2010) 1 (1982)
 Australia 3 (1986, 2010, 2014) 2 (2002, 2006) 4 (1978, 1982, 1990, 1994*) 1 (1998)
 Germany^ 2 (2002, 2006*) 2 (1982, 2010) 4 (1973, 1975, 1986, 1998) 3 (1978, 1990, 1994)
 India 1 (1975) 1 (1973) 1 (1971)
 Spain 2 (1971*, 1998) 1 (2006)
 England 1 (1986*) 2 (2010, 2014)
 Argentina 1 (2014)
 South Korea 2 (2002, 2006)
 Kenya 1 (1971)
 Malaysia 1 (1975*)
 Soviet Union# 1 (1986)
* = host nation
^ = includes results representing West Germany between 1971 and 1990
# = states that have since split into two or more independent nations

Performance by host nations

Nine nations have hosted the Hockey World Cup. Only the Netherlands (1973 and 1998) and Germany (2006) have won the tournament as hosts. Spain, England, and Pakistan emerged as host runners-up in the 1971, 1986 and 1990 tournaments. Australia placed third when it hosted the 1994 tournament in Sydney.

Performance by continental zones

To date, the finals of the Hockey World Cup have been contested by Asian, European and Oceania continental teams. Asian and European teams are tied with five titles each. Australia is the only team from Oceania to win the tournament. Neither the Americas nor Africa have ever won the title.

Continent Best performance
Asia 5 titles, won by Pakistan (4) and India (1)
Europe 5 titles, won by the Netherlands (3) and Germany (2)
Oceania 3 titles, won by Australia
Americas Third place (Argentina, 2014)
Africa Fourth place (Kenya, 1971)

Team appearances

Participating nations
Team 1971 1973 1975 1978 1982 1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014 2018 Total
 Argentina 10th 9th 11th 8th 12th 6th 9th 7th 6th 10th 7th 3rd 12
 Australia 8th 5th 3rd 3rd 1st 3rd 3rd 4th 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 12
 Belarus Part of the Soviet Union 12th 1
 Belgium 8th 14th 11th 14th 5th 5
 Canada 11th 10th 11th 8th 11th 5
 Cuba 16th 1
 England 6th 6th 7th 8th 2nd 5th 6th 6th 7th 5th 4th 4th 12
 France 7th 7th 2
 Germany^ 5th 3rd 3rd 4th 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 3rd 1st 1st 2nd 6th 13
 Ghana 12th 1
 India 3rd 2nd 1st 6th 5th 12th 10th 5th 9th 10th 11th 8th 9th Q 14
 Ireland 12th 12th 2
 Italy 13th 1
 Japan 9th 10th 12th 9th 4
 Kenya 4th 12th 2
 Malaysia 11th 4th 10th 10th 11th 8th 12th 7
 Netherlands 6th 1st 9th 2nd 4th 7th 1st 2nd 1st 3rd 7th 3rd 2nd 13
 New Zealand 7th 7th 7th 9th 10th 9th 8th 9th 7th 9
 Pakistan 1st 4th 2nd 1st 1st 11th 2nd 1st 5th 5th 6th 12th 12
 Poland 10th 9th 8th 8th 12th 15th 6
 South Africa 10th 13th 12th 10th 11th 5
 South Korea 8th 7th 4th 4th 6th 10th 6
 Soviet Union# 6th 4th 6th Defunct 3
 Spain 2nd 5th 8th 5th 11th 5th 8th 9th 2nd 11th 3rd 5th 8th 13
Total 10 12 12 14 12 12 12 12 12 16 12 12 12 16 176
^ = includes results representing West Germany between 1971 and 1990
# = states that have since split into two or more independent nations

Germany, India, the Netherlands and Spain are the only teams to have competed at each World Cup; 24 teams have competed in at least one World Cup.


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