FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup: A History
by USA Field Hockey
Content Courtesy of FIH
Image Courtesy of Quico Anderson/PAHF
Indoor hockey is a variant of hockey that originated in Germany in the mid 20th century as a way for players of hockey to practice the sport during the months of winter when it was too cold to play hockey outdoors. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognized indoor hockey in its constitution in the year 1968 and there have been various FIH Indoor hockey events since 1972.
The FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2003 in Leipzig, Germany was the first world cup event in indoor hockey, for both men’s and women’s competition. The event was watched by a total of 20 million viewers, proving the great popularity of the sport among hockey fans. Since 2003, the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup has been organized every 4 years.
Germany is the most successful team in the history of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cups, in both men’s and women’s competition. The German women’s team has won three gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal, standing on the podium at every single edition of the Indoor World Cup. The German men’s team has an identical record at the Indoor World Cups, having won the gold medal at the first three editions of the event followed by a bronze in the 2015 edition and a silver in 2018.
The upcoming FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup South Africa 2023 will be the sixth edition of the event and the first one to be played outside of Europe. The event was originally planned to be held in Liège, Belgium in the year 2022, but had to be postponed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Pretoria, South Africa appointed as the new hosts.
In the women’s competition Netherlands are the second most successful team in the history of the Indoor World Cup, having never finished outside of the top-2 positions. The Dutch have won the gold medal twice (2007 and 2015) and the silver medal three times (2003, 2011 and 2018). They will be strong favorites for the gold medal at the 2023 Indoor World Cup, with Germany pulling out of the 6th edition due to scheduling conflicts.
Other than Germany and Netherlands, Spain are the only other team to have ever made the finals, finishing as runners-up in 2007, having defeated the mighty Germans in the semifinals. Ukraine also has a rich history at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cups as they have made the semifinals on three occasions, winning a bronze medal in 2011. France, Czech Republic and Belarus have also stood on the podium once, winning the bronze medals in the 2003, 2015 and 2018 editions respectively.
In the men’s competition Netherlands and Austria have won one gold medal each in the 2015 and 2018 editions respectively. Austria also has two more medals at the Indoor World Cups, winning silver in 2015 and bronze in 2011. Poland, who were also the hosts in 2011, have three silver medals in their history finishing runners-up at the first three editions of the event.
Austria will arrive at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup South Africa 2023 as the team to beat, having won the gold medal at the previous edition, defeating a strong German side in an intense final. Iran, who finished fourth in 2015 and won the bronze medal in 2018 will be making their fourth consecutive appearance at the Indoor World Cup and will also be amongst the teams expected to do well. Netherlands who will be making their first appearance in the World Cup since winning the gold at the 2015 edition will also be among the strong favorites.
For more information about the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup South Africa 2023, click here.