The Men’s Hockey World 2018 is currently undergoing in Odisha with the top teams battling it out in the initial phase. When it comes to performing in the Hockey World Cups, no one comes quite close to the Pakistan Hockey team who have won the prestigious tournament four times. The Asian giants are currently ranked 13th in the world at the moment and have been on the decline for quite some time now. But before this tumultuous phase in their hockey came about, they used to perform really well at the World stage. They have won the 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994 editions of this prestigious trophy. Despite severe issues with funds, their federation was able to get the team ready for the competition. Hockey World Cup 2018: Here’s What You Need to Know About the Mega Event in Odisha.
Pakistan is placed in Pool D with Germany, Netherlands, and Malaysia who are all currently well above them in terms of quality. But a team with such a golden history is not expected to throw in the towel easily. Let us analyse how the Men in Green have fared in the last five Hockey World Cups.
1998 Hockey World Cup – Utrecht – 5th Place: Pakistan came into the 1998 Hockey World Cup in Utrecht, the Netherlands as defending champions having won the previous edition. They collected 9 points in Pool B beating Malaysia 2-7, England 7-5, and Poland 3-1. An unexpected 1-2 loss to Spain dent their chances of qualification and as they ended the Pool stage with another defeat, this time going down to Australia 3-1. They met England in 5th/6th place game where it came out on top beating the Three Lions 4-2 to finish fifth, a disappointment by their standards back then.
2002 Hockey World Cup – Kuala Lumpur – 5th Place: Just like 1998, Pakistan did well in the Pool stage but not enough to secure qualification to the semi-final. The opened their account with a 5-0 thrashing of South-Africa followed by a close 3-2 win over Belgium. The won again beating New Zealand 2-0 but losses followed against Argentina, Netherlands and Germany to finish on 12 points. They did manage to take their revenge against Argentina in the 5th/6th place game beating the South American side 5-3. Hockey legend Sohail Abbas finished the tournament as joint highest scorer on 10 goals with Argentina’s Jorge Lombi. 2018 Men's Hockey World Cup: India’s Performance in the Last Five Editions of the Tournament.
– Monchengladbach – 6th Place: The Pakistan team were placed in Pool A at the 2006 World Cup but could only manage a solitary win which came against minnows Japan. They were involved in a high scoring 4-4 draw with New Zealand followed by a 2-2 draw with Spain. They went down fighting 1-0 against Argentina and Australia blanked them 3-0 in the last game. Their performance particularly the defence came in for severe criticism back home. They lost the 5th/6th place game to England 1-0 to finish a disappointing sixth.
2010 Hockey World Cup – New Delhi – 12th Place: The nadir of Pakistan Hockey came at the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi where the team finished rock bottom after some uncharacteristically flat display throughout its stay in India. It went down 4-1 to arch-rivals India in the opening match of Pool B but turned things around with a 2-1 win over Spain which unfortunately was their only win of the tournament. Losses to England, South Africa, and Australia set up the 11th/12th match against fellow strugglers Canada. Their opponents needed extra time to beat them 3-2 and avoid the embarrassment of finishing last. Men's Hockey World Cup 2018 Schedule in IST: Check out the complete fixture, Venue of FIH 2018 Men's Hockey WC Matches in Odisha.
2014 Hockey World Cup – The Hague – Did Not Qualify: A 2-1 loss to South-Korea in the semi-final of Asia Cup in 2013 meant Pakistan did not qualify for the 2014 Men’s Hockey World Cup. It was the first time since the inception of the tournament in 1971 that the Men in Green were missing.
Pakistan despite the troubles have made it to the big stage in Odisha but it is an only job half done. For a country with such a brilliant history in hockey and with a great fan following, it will only be fitting that the team comes up with some solid performance.