Pakistan-India encounter in the sixth Asia Cup Hockey Tournament final was the 105th between the two in head-to-head record. The winner not only becomes Champion of Asia for the next four years but it will also win a berth in the 11th World Cup at the western German city of Moenchengladbach in 2006.
The first meeting between the two hockey giants of Asia took place in 1956 Melbourne Olympics Games. India escaped with 1-0 victory in the final on 6 December 1956. It was 3rd Asian Games at Tokyo in 1958 when the two teams met for the second time. Pakistan was awarded gold medal on better goal average after their league encounter ended in 0-0 draw.
In the period between 1948 and 1958, Pakistani players did not relax and kept on plugging the holes in a bid to end the supremacy of their arch rivals India who were undisputed World champions in those days as there were no World Cup and Olympic Champions were treated as World Champions.
The 32-year supremacy of India was ended in 1960 when Pakistan won the Rome Olympics final by beating India 1-0. Manzoor Hussain Atif, only hockey player to win six medals in Olympics, who tasted glory for Pakistan in the victorious team of 1960, remembers a time when "passion" was the essential currency for any athlete. "When we won Olympic gold in hockey in 1960, we did not get anything in return," he said. "We would walk for miles to reach grounds, and it was passion not lust that ruled our hearts."
Pakistan confirmed their superiority over India two years later when they recorded thumping 2-0 win over the Indians in 1962 Asian Games final at Jakarta. It was fourth meeting between the two sides and it was first occasion when a team was managed to score more than a goal (previous three matches produced just two goals).
But two years later, Indian came back strongly to win the Tokyo Olympics 1964. India made a bold bid to regain it’s lost supremacy in world hockey. Pakistan gave India many anxious moments but failed to neutralize the lone goal which came through penalty-stroke. The Indian keeper Shankar Lakshman played superbly and India held on to its slender lead to win its seventh gold medal in Olympic Games.
Pakistan also lost to India 0-1 in the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games final.
When Pakistan completed the first Grand Slam of hockey, it included 1-0 win over India in the 1970 Asian Games final .The lone goal scorer was current Pakistani Manager Abdul Rashid Jr. Rashid also struck a precious goal when Pakistan defeated India 2-1 in the semi-final of 1971 World Cup at Terrassa .
Both the teams also met in the semi-final of Munich Olympics 1972 and this time the scorers were Fazalur Rehman and Shahnaz Sheikh. Indian penalty-corner expert Mukhbain Singh missed 17 PC in Munich semi-final and it was big frustration for coach K.D.Singh Babu.
The 12th Pakistan-India meeting was held at Amstelveen’s Wagener Stadium. Pakistan was forced to field their second string in the 1973 World Cup as a year back, the entire Pakistani team was suspended for disorderly behavior during the medal ceremony after the 1972 Munich Olympics hockey final. Luckily, the ban was revoked in 1974 only after an apology from the highest level, and after the 13 players had served the ban for two years.
Like the 1971 World Cup and 1972 Olympics, India and Pakistan had their third consecutive semi-final meeting of a major tournament. In this clash of the sub continental giants, B. P. Govinda scored a field goal in the 62nd minute to take India to the finals. Indian spearhead dribbled past host of defenders, and then reverse-flicked the ball knee high past the goalkeeper Munir Pervez, to score a magnificent goal. Thus India avenged it’s defeat to Pakistan in the previous two years. It was a most sporting gesture when members of both teams congratulated and embraced each other after the match.
The Pakistani team was restored to full strength for the 7th Asian Games 1974 at Tehran where there was little difficulty in holding on to the gold medal. Pakistan won the final by beating India 2-0 after the previous tie between the two was tied 1-1. Both the matches were held at Tehran’s Aryamehr Sports Complex .Then came the hour of reckoning - the showdown for the 1975 World Cup final between two arch-rivals.
In the final, the defender Surjit Singh, and schemer Ashok Kumar turned the tide for India. Surjit slammed in a PC for the desperately sought equalizer, while the enormously gifted son of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand, Ashok scored the winner. It was comeback win after Zahid Sheikh had struck for Pakistan at Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Football Stadium. India had beaten Pakistan for only the fifth time in 15 attempts. They had scored two goals against Pakistan for the first time. It was probably Indian hockey's finest hour.
A year later, Pakistani team was so strong that it thrashed India 5-0 in the league encounter of Quaid-i-Azam Birth Centenary Tournament at Lahore on 18 November 1976. Such a big score was expected because Aslam Sher Khan-led Indian team was comprised of players, mostly young, mostly Muslims, and mostly from Bhopal. It was first time after independence that an Indian team landed in Pakistan while Pakistan’s first visit to India took place in February 1978 when first-ever series between the two nations produced 3-1 win for Pakistan in four-matches.
In the same year, Pakistan edged out India 1-0 to win the final of 8th Asian Games Hockey Tournament 1978 at Bangkok. It was sweet revenge of 1975 World Cup defeat as Bangkok final was first meeting between the two in three years during an important tournament. This would be the third time in the past 12 years that Bangkok was hosting the Asian Games
First tie on synthetic turf
A century is naturally prone to many changes in every game. Hockey is no exception. In terms of surface, equipment, rules, formations and styles the 20th century has seen several alterations and amendments, some of them radical bordering on transformation.
From grass and clay and even sandy grounds, hockey have come a long way to astro turf and is fast moving forward on this track. The synthetic surface came into play in 1976 and came to Pakistan via Karachi three years later. The first meeting between Pakistan and India on astro-turf took place on 3 January 1980 when Pakistan came out victors by 7-1 during Second Champions Trophy. Hanif Khan struck fantastic hat-trick in this match. It was first-ever international hockey match on astro-turf in Asia. The 7-1 score line is still Pakistan’s biggest win over India in 104 internationals held until 27 September 2003 between the two nations. Pakistan won 52 of these matches while 33 were ended in win for India. Nineteen matches were recorded as draw. The goal counts in favor of Pakistan are 239-180.
Three months after that 7-1 win, Pakistan overwhelmed India 3-1 in Kuala Lumpur’s Quadrangular Tournament. But when top three teams of Montreal Olympics New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan and European hockey powerhouses Germany, the Netherlands and Britain joined US-led boycott and did not compete in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, India grabbed the opportunity to win the gold.
When all the top teams returned for Bombay World Cup two years later, India finished fifth and Atif-managed Pakistani team clinched the FIH’s showpiece event. There was no confrontation between Pakistan and India at Bombay World Cup but when on 19 March 1982 both the teams appeared against each other in final league encounter of First Asia Cup, Pakistan came out from the field with convincing 4-0 win at HCP .The score line in Asian Games final 1982 final at New Delhi was also remarkable, with Pakistan winning by 7-1.
The 11th final between Pakistan and India in a tournament took place at Dhaka in 1985 when Pakistan scored a thrilling 3-2 in Second Asia Cup . Three years later, India out stroked Pakistan after both the team played 2-2 draw in the final of Marshall Cup at Nairobi. India also won the tie-breaker of Prime Minister Gold Cup when both the teams played a scintillating 3-3 draw at Dhaka’s Maulana Bhashani Stadium in 2001. In between these two finals which reached the penalty-strokes session , in 1989, both the team met in the final of Third Asia Cup at New Delhi’s Shijavi Stadium and Pakistan won the final 2-0. The 15th final between the two teams in a tournament will be played on 28 September 2003 at Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Jalil Sports Complex.
PREVIOUS 14 PAKISTAN-INDIA FINALS
2001 PM Gold Cup at Dhaka : PAK 3 IND 3 (India won on tie-break)
1989 Asia Cup at New Delhi : PAK 2 IND 0
1988 Marshall Cup at Nairobi : PAK 2 IND 2 (India won on tie-break)
1985 Asia Cup at Dhaka : PAK 3 IND 2
1982 Asian Games at New Delhi: PAK 7 IND 1
1978 Asian Games at Bangkok: PAK 1 IND 0
1975 World Cup at Kuala Lumpur : PAK 1 IND 2
1974 Asian Games at Tehran : PAK 2 IND 0 ( in replay after 1-1 draw)
1970 Asian Games at Bangkok : PAK 1 IND 0
1966 Asian Games at Bangkok : PAK 0 IND 1
1964 Olympics at Tokyo : PAK 0 IND 1
1962 Asian Games at Jakarta : PAK 2 IND 0
1960 Olympics at Rome : PAK 1 IND 0
1956 Olympics at Melbourne : PAK 0 IND 1