Hockey World Cup: Germany dethrone Belgium in sudden-death thriller to end 17-year wait for third title

BHUBANESWAR: At 0-2 down in a World Cup final, comebacks need nerves of steel. Germany and Belgium took turns to show that in a test that refused to end, until Belgium died a ‘sudden death’, which gave the Germans a third Men’s Hockey World Cup title — first since 2006. It was Germany first who put the game on a knife’s edge by erasing a two-goal deficit to level it 2-2 and then go into the lead at 3-2. It was then the turn of the defending champions.


The Red Lions’ refusal to give up earned them a penalty corner and Gonzalo Peillat once again came to the party to make it 3-3 and push the game into a shootout.



But that wasn’t enough to give the 15th edition of the World Cup its winner. It remained 3-3 in the shootout as well, until Tanguy Cosyns missed for Belgium in sudden death to see the Germans, clad in black shirts, running towards goalkeeper Jean-Paul Danneberg.

Had Belgium won, they would have been the fourth team to successfully defend the title after Pakistan (1978 and 1982), Germany (2002 and 2006) and Australia (2010 and 2014).

The game of fine margins didn’t open that way. The Germans defended for most part of the first five minutes, until their first meaningful entry into the Belgian circle earned them a penalty corner after a video referral. But Peillat, who hit a hat-trick against Australia in the semifinal, wasn’t in his elements by then. His drag-flicks were sorted out by the Belgian rushers. It was the 10th minute when the Belgian ascendancy resulted in a goal.

Tom Boon got a loose ball and went for a tomahawk, but the ball took a deflection from a German stick to go out for a long corner. Belgium didn’t waste time to restart, and Florent van Aubel managed to control a bouncing ball from Antoine Kina, which he slammed into the German post on the bounce.

A minute later, Kina once again came up with an assist that turned into a goal. Cosyns placed himself beautifully at the end of Kina’s cross from inside the circle to cutely deflect the ball in behind goalkeeper Alexander Stadler to increase Belgium’s lead to 2-0.Β  Vanasch continued to keep the Germans at bay, coming up with brilliant saves, including a penalty stroke in the 19th minute.

A push challenge from behind on Moritz Trompertz by Arthur van Doren inside the circle resulted in the referee awarding a penalty stroke. But Vanasch didn’t let Tom Grambusch’s attempt go past him. Four minutes after that, Marco Miltkau tried a cheeky deflection off a slap from the edge of the 23-yard line but it sailed harmlessly over Vanasch and the crossbar.

Looking desperately for a goal before half-time, it was Niklas Wellen, who became a father during the tournament, provided that for Germany off a variation on a penalty corner. Controlling a ricochet that tapped twice on his stick, Wellen smashed it into the goal to make it 2-1.

Belgium were down to 10 men in, when Nicolas de Kerpel was shown a green card in the 40th minute. The next minute the Germans took advantage and made it 2-2, with Peillat’s shot finally finding a way through on a penalty corner to sound the board.Β  And when Mats Grambusch pulled off a stunning goal out of nowhere from an acute angle in the 48th minute, the chants of ‘Belgium, Belgium’ from a small group of the Red Lions’ supporters were hushed.

The Germans were now leading 3-2, after being down 0-2.

The defending champions had no choice left than to pull out all stops, which is what they did to up the ante in the last five minutes.Β  Back-to-back penalty corners for Belgium put the German defence under pressure. And just when the Germans had one hand on the trophy, Boon deposited the ball into the net in the 59th minute to make it 3-3, which is what the score remained at the end of 60 minutes.

The shootout extended to 14 attempts each from the customary five as the World Cup final required a sudden-death tie-breaker to find the winner.Belgian custodian Vanasch and Danneberg, who replaced Stadler in the German post for the shootouts, were now in focus and both did their job by saving two attempts each, which ended the shootout at 3-3 as well.

Man-of-the-Match Wellen and Thies Prinz converted for Germany in sudden-death but only van Aubel could score for the defending champions. And when Cosyns failed to beat Danneberg, the 15th edition of the Men’s World Cup had its champion – Germany.

List of Awards

Fair Play Award: Team Belgium
Maximum Team Goals: Netherlands
Best Team Goal Celebration: Korea
Fan’s Choice Award: Christopher RΓΌhr (Germany)
JSP Foundation Best Junior Player of the Tournament: Mustaphaa Cassiem (South Africa)
Hero Top Scorer: Jeremy Hayward (Australia)
JSW Best Goalkeeper: Vincent Vanasch (Belgium)
Best Defender: Jeremy Hayward (Australia)
Best Midfielder: Victor Wegnez (Belgium)
Best Forward: Niklas Wellen (Germany)
Odisha Best Player: Niklas Wellen (Germany)
Bronze Medal: Team Netherlands
Silver Medal: Team Belgium
Gold Medal: Team Germany

Source: TIMESOFINDIA.COM | January 29, 2023