A World Cup with a wealth of history

As we begin the countdown to the15th  FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Spain and Netherlands 2022, it is important that we remember and celebrate the heritage and tradition behind this blue riband event.

The previous World Cup, the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 has been heralded as the biggest hockey event hosted by London, and while that is undisputed, it is certainly not the first time a version of the Women’s World Cup has been held in England. That honour goes to the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) tournament, held in Folkestone, Kent in 1953.

The 1953 IFWHA tournament was one of 12 IFWHA events organised between 1933 and 1983 and, in the largest edition (1975), a total of 22 teams took part. 

However, by the mid 1970s, the IFWHA and the FIH had begun the process of creating a joint hockey federation and so the first FIH Women’s World Cup took place in 1974 in Mandelieu in France. At that first event it was the Netherlands who took gold, the first of eight subsequent tournament victories. 

This meant that from 1975 to 1983 the IFWHA and FIH events ran side by side, however, the only real continuation between the two events is the trophy. At the 1975 IFWHA event, which took place in Scotland, the winning team, England, received a trophy, known as a Quaich, and presented by the Royal Bank of Scotland.  

The Quaich continued to be presented at subsequent World Cups organised by the FIH, when it took on ownership of the event and the original metalwork is now incorporated into the trophy that was newly designed for the 2018 event. 

Since becoming an official FIH event, the Women’s World Cup usually takes place in the same year as the men’s event. Since 1974, there have been two occasions when the events have been hosted together – Utrecht 1998 and The Hague 2014.

World Cup Stat Attack

During its 44-year history, 29 different nations have participated in a grand total of 571 games, scoring 1,906 goals. That averages out at just over three goals a match. Alongside netball, women’s world cup hockey is one of the oldest World Cups for women – football, for instance, only introduced a World Cup in 1991.

One team stands out head and shoulders above the rest. The Netherlands has won the World Cup an astonishing eight times, including the last edition. In that time, the Netherlands has played 96 matches and has a win rate of 77.78 per cent. 

The Oranje’s nearest rivals are Argentina, Australia and Germany (playing as West Germany). These teams have each won the trophy twice. The most recent winner, apart from the Netherlands, is Argentina, who won the World Cup in 2010.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Netherlands players dominate the player statistics. The most individual World Cup appearances sees England’s Alex Danson top the list with 26 World Cup games to her credit. Six players have 21 World Cup appearances: Ellen Hoog, Kim Lammers, Maartje Paumen and Naomi van As from the Netherlands and Carla Rebecchi and Rosario Luchetti from Argentina. Germany’s Maike Stockel is next with 20 games to her credit.

Maartje Paumen is top goalscorer by far, with 22 goals – but none from open play (16 are from her fearsome penalty corner strike, six are penalty strokes). Kim Lammers is second top scorer, with Krystal Forgesson of New Zealand, Kaori Chiba of Japan (all from field goals) and Luciana Aymar of Argentina all tied on nine goals apiece.

Two coaches with World Cup gold medals led their teams in London – Alyson Annan, the then head coach of the Netherlands, won with the Hockeyroos in 1994 and 1998, while Janneke Schopman, now with India but previously as head coach of USA, won with Netherlands in 2006.

Credit: FIH.hockey