Nehru Cup was started in 1982 in India as an International soccer tournament. Scheduled to be played once in two years, from 1998 to 2006 it was not held. While Host India won 3 successive titles till 2012, Soviet Union with 4 titles have been the most successful team of the tournament.
6 teams participated in the inaugural tournament at Kolkata in 1982. Uruguay and China reached the final after topping the 6 group Round Robin. South Korea (3rd), Italy (4th), India (5th) and Yogoslavia finished behind them. India won 2, drew 2 and lost 2 earning 4 points.
Uruguay defeated China 2-0 to win the first Nehru Cup.
- Urguay won 3, drew 2 at group stage.
China won 2, drew 3.
South Korea won 1, drew 4.
Italy won 2, lost 3.
Yugoslavia drew 1 (against South Korea) and lost 4 to finish at bottom.
Before stopping in 1998, 11 more Cups were played at different venues in India. Cochin (1983, 1985), Kolkata (1982, 1984 and 1995), Thiruvananthapuram (1986, 1991), Siliuri (1988), Margao (1989), Madras (1993) and Kochi (1997) were the hosts before it stopped in 1998. Since 2007 till 2012 New Delhi has hosted.
Hungary Olympic (1983, 1989), Poland (1984), Soviet Union (1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988), Romania B (1991) and Iraq (1995 & 1997) were the winners.
Facts Till 1997
While Soviet Union won the maximum 4 times, China finished Runner’s up 4 times in first 5 tournaments. Yugoslavia (1985), Bulgaria (1987), Poland (1988), Soviet Union (1989), Hungary (1991), Romania (1993), Russia (1995) and Uzebkistan (1997) were other Runner’s up.
After a long gap Nehru Cup was revived in 2007. It was held in 2009 before 2012. India and Syria locked horns in both the finals (2007 and 2009) and the hosts emerged winner consecutively. 2012 final saw India beating Cameroon B team in the final on penalties.
New Delhi has been the permanent destination since its revival after 10 years in 2007.
2007 Nehru Cup
India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Syria and Kyrgyzstan competed at Ambedkar Stadium. With $100,000 being the prize money, champions India received $40,000. Runners Up Syria received $20,000. Winner of every match received $2,500.
In 11 matches 41 goals were scored with Chaabo of Syria emerging as the top goal scorer hitting 5 goals.
2009 Nehru Cup
India, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Syria and Kyrgyzstan competed and India defended their title defeating Syria again.
2012 Nehru Cup
India, Syria, Cameron, Maldives and Nepal are playing in 2012 Nehru Cup. Cameron is the highest ranked (59) team, while Syria (147), Maldives (161) and Nepal (162) are low ranked. The host India is the lowest ranked at 168.
India won the final defeating the highest ranked Cameroon.