Wednesday, Mar 29 2023 | Time 02:34 Hrs(IST)

Germany thrash defending champions Belgium in Hockey WC

Germany thrash defending champions Belgium in Hockey WC

Bhubneswar, Jan 29 (UNI) Germany were crowned the champions of the world, defeating defending champions Belgium in a thrilling FIH Hockey Men's World Cup finals.
Germany won the finals 5-4 in the shootout after levelling 3-all in full time. They were down by two goals early in the first quarter, but fought their way back again and took the game into a shootout, where they held their nerves in the sudden deaths.
With the win Germany also claimed the top spot in the FIH Men’s World Outdoor Rankings.
Belgium started the game on the front foot, creating an early circle entry, but Tom Grambusch was alert to the chance and intercepted a cross right in front of the goal and cleared the danger.
Germany won a penalty corner in the 6th minute, referring to the original decision which had gone against them.
The resulting penalty corner was well defended by first rusher Cosyns who blocked Gonzalo Peillat’s attempted flick.
Belgium opened the scoring in the 10th minute as a long corner deflected high off a German stick and fell to Florent van Aubel at the top of the circle and he took the shot on in his stride and smashed the ball into the goal before Stadler could react.
Less than a minute later Belgium had doubled their lead as a cross from the left deflected off a German stick and fell to Simon Gougnard who had to get the slightest of touches to put it in the goal.
Belgium won a penalty corner early in the second quarter and their variation caught the German rushers out, but Stadler dived brilliantly to his left and pulled off a great save to keep Germany in the game.
Moments later Germany won a penalty stroke after Christopher Rühr found Windfeder with an incisive pass and his cross was blocked by the foot of a sliding Belgian defender.
Tom Grambusch stepped up to take the stroke but his high shot to the left was saved brilliantly by Vincent Vanasch who got his stick to the ball and deflected it on to the post and deflected out.
Secure in their lead Belgium sat back in deep defence inviting German pressure, and Germany finally made it count winning a penalty corner with less than 90 seconds left in the quarter.
It was Niklas Wellen once again scoring for Germany as Tom Grambusch’s attempted flick deflected off the first rusher and fell to Wellen, who was the injector.
He controlled the shoulder high ball brilliantly and smashed the volley above the outstretched hands of Vanasch to give Germany a goal back before the half.
Belgium nearly caught Germany out on a quick counter attack right at the start of the second half as Victor Wegnez’ long pass into the circle crashed into the backboard, but a diving Dockier did not manage to get a touch on the ball and Germany were awarded a free-out.
Germany then managed to test Vanasch again as a quick pass by Trompertz found Miltkau in the circle and he had time and space to get his shot away, but his low effort was well saved by Vanasch who got his left foot on to the ball and sent it out of play.
A minute later, Germany were back level as Gonzalo Peillat buried a penalty corner low in the bottom left corner of the goal and there was nothing a diving Vanasch could do to stop it.
With 15 minutes left in the game it was all squared up again, with shoot-outs looming large if neither team could find the go-ahead goal.
Germany completed their turnaround in the third minute of the final quarter as captain Mats Grambusch hit a sliding tomahawk shot from a minute angle and the powerful shot snuck in through the legs of Vanasch to give Germany the lead.
Belgium started to pile on the pressure as they hunted an equaliser of their own having led for a significant portion of the match and for a change it was Germany who had to rely on their defence.
But Hinrichs and Tom Grambusch were massive for the Germans in defence, keeping Belgium outside their 25 and intercepting any attempted crosses that looked to find an attacker in the German scoring circle.
Belgium won a penalty corner with less than 2 minutes left in the game and once again it was star-man Tom Boon that did the business for the Red Lions perfectly placing his flick between Stadler and the post defender to score and send the game into a shootout.
Shootouts are always a tense affair and with Belgium, who won the gold at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in the shootouts as well as the 2018 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup finals in the shootouts, facing Germany who had won 8 out of the 10 shootouts they had been involved in since 2018, the shoot-outs were bound to be a tense affair.
That proved to be the case as the two teams could not be separated through the first 5 shoot-out attempts, with both teams scoring thrice and the shoot-out went into sudden death.
Germany and Belgium both scored their first attempts through Wellen and van Aubel. Thies Prinz stepped up to take the 7th German attempt and scored. Jean-Paul Danneberg, who had been substituted in for the shoot-outs, then got the stop against Tanguy Cosyns and sparked wild celebrations as Germany were the champions of the world for the third time in the history.
Niklas Wellen, who sparked the German comeback at the end of the first half, was awarded the player of the match.
Earlier in the day Netherlands and Australia went head-to-head in the bronze medal match, where Jeremy Hayward gave them an early lead, but an incredible 3-goal burst in 8 minutes in the third quarter, with captain Thierry Brinkman scoring twice, gave Netherlands the lead that they would take to the end and win the bronze medal.
With the win, followed by Belgium’s loss in the finals, Netherlands moved up to the second position in the FIH Men’s World Outdoor Rankings, followed by silver medalists Belgium who are now ranked third ahead of Australia, who end the tournament ranked fourth.

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