First Two Hockey World Cups: Tale of Revenge, One Final Each for India, Pakistan and European Hosts

The First two World Cups continued dominance of Asian Giants with Netherlands emerging as future power while Australia struggled. In fact, in 1973 Australians withdrew due to lack of funds. First two world cups were about Pakistan, India, the two hosts – Spain and Netherlands, surprising Kenya and amazing West Germany. Let us check the events and matches of 1971 and 1973 Men’s Hockey World Cup.

Men’s Hockey World Cup: 5 Winners, 7 Runners up, 12 Semifinalists from 5 Continents in 13 Editions
World Cup Hockey: Winners and Semifinalists of Past
History of Hockey World Cup

In 1971, when the first World Cup was hosted at Spain India and Pakistan both lost one match each. While Pakistan lost at Group Stage against Spain to finish second at Group, Indians lost the only match in semifinal against Pakistan, who went on to lift the inaugural World Cup avenging the defeat against hosts, Spain in the final.

In 1973, Indians again lost just one match. But, this time it was the final against the hosts Netherlands who won in penalty shootout. Pakistan on the other hand lost two, first the semifinal against India and then the Bronze medal match against West Germany.

1971 Hockey World Cup

    10 Teams
    30 Matches
    66 Goals
    14 Goals by Pakistan

Group Stage

    Indians topped Pool A winning all four matches without conceding a goal. They defeated France (1-0), Argentina (1-0), Kenya (2-0) and West Germany (1-0). After being tied at 4 points with 2 wins and 2 losses each, Kenya defeated West Germany again in the Group Stage Play off to qualify for semifinals with India from Pool A.

    Pool B saw Group Topper Spain losing to Australia (1-0) but winning against second placed Pakistan (3-2) as both qualified for semifinals ahead of Netherlands, who won 2 and lost two, Australia and Japan (both won 1, lost 2, drew 1)


    9th: Japan def Argentina 2-0
    Netherlands def France 2-1
    West Germany def Australia 1-0
    5th: West Germany def Netherlands 1-0
    7th: France def Australia 1-0
    Semis: Pakistan def India 2-1
    Spain def Kenya 1-0 (Extra time)
    3rd place: India def Kenya 2-1 (Extra time)
    Final: Pakistan def Spain 1-0

Goal scorers

    8 Goals: Tanvir dar of Pakistan was the highest scorer of the tournament
    4: Avtar Singh (Kenya), Juan Amat (Spain)
    For India, Kulwant Singh and Rajwinder Singh scored 2 goals each, while Ganesh, Harmik Singh, Rajinder Singh and Vinod Kumar scored a goal each.

1973 Hockey World Cup

    12 Teams
    42 Matches
    124 Goals
    16 Goals by Pakistan, 15 by India, 14 by Netherlands

Group Stage

    West Germany finished ahead of Indians in Pool A with 4 wins and a draw. Indians had a goal feast with 12 Goals and conceding just one but played two draws, one each against West Germany (0-0) and New Zealand (1-1). They won against Japan (5-0), Kenya (4-0) and Spain (2-0). Spain won 3, New Zealand won 1, while Kenya and Japan did not win any of the 5 matches.

    Pool B saw a bigger goal feast as topper Pakistan won 4 and drew against England. They scored 16 goals, while second placed Netherlands scored 11 goals. Belgium won 2, England and Malaysia won 1 each, while Argentina did not win any.


    Argentina def Kenya 2-0
    Japan def Malaysia 1-0
    9th: Argentina def Japan 1-0
    11th: Malaysia def Kenya 1-0
    England def New Zealand 1-0
    Spain def Belgium 5-0
    5th Spain def England 3-0
    7th New Zealand def Belgium 3-1
    Netherlands def West Germany 0-0 (4-2)
    India def Pakistan 1-0
    3rd place: West Germany def Pakistan 1-0
    Final: Netherlands def India 2-2 (4-2)

Goal Scorers: With 11 Goals, Ties Kruize of Netherlands was the highest goal scorer.

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