A lot has changed in the 43 years since the first Hockey World Cup for men was played. On that occasion it was Pakistan who emerged as champions and indeed it was the Asian teams of India and Pakistan that the rest of the world looked up to because of their skill, dexterity and adventurous play.
Fast forward to 2014 and, although India, Korea and Malaysia are holding up the Asian challenge, recent results would suggest that the World Cup is more likely to find a new home in one of the European powerhouses of Germany, the Netherlands, newly-emerging Belgium, or make the return trip to current holders Australia.
Pakistan, who have missed out on qualification this year, remain the team with the most wins; they have four titles to their name, with the Netherlands winning three times and Germany and Australia on two titles each. India remain the team who have made the most appearances – they have appeared in 14 World Cup tournaments, although they have won only once – in 1975.
On the women’s side, there has been an orange domination of the tournament. While the Netherlands, Germany and Argentina have all appeared in every tournament since its inception in 1974, the Dutch have been crowned champions six times, while Australia, Germany, (playing as West Germany) and Argentina have all won twice.
Argentina are the current holders, although again recent results would suggest that Dutch domination in 2014 is again a real possibility.
The Hockey World Cup is organised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and is held every four years, bridging the four years between the Summer Olympics. Currently, 12 teams contest the tournament, although that will be extended to 16 teams in 2018 and possibly increased to 24 in 2022. Explaining the decision to expand the tournament, FIH President Leandro Negre said: “We have so many quality teams in the top-20 of our World Ranking that it will still be quite competitive to earn a berth to the World Cup even with the expanded field. This is a testament to the global development of hockey.”