BHUBANESWAR: Belgium won a tense penalty shootout 3-2 against three-times champions Netherlands to win their first men’s hockey World Cup title at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.
A goalless stalemate in regulation time forced the shootout which also resulted in a 2-2 deadlock after five penalties each.
Florent van Aubel then converted to put Belgium ahead before the Netherlands’ Jeroen Hertzberger shot wide to dash their hopes of a fourth title as Belgium became the sixth nation to win the World Cup.
Simon Gougnard, who had lost his father on the morning of the semifinal against England, was in tears — and understandably so. Tim Boon too broke into tears of joy. This was the unbelievable moment they couldn’t live in the 2016 Rio Olympics final against Argentina. Now they had. They are the world champions – the 6th team to win the title.
The victory was also a revenge of sorts — for the 2017 European Championships defeat against the Dutch. The Belgians couldn’t have done it on a bigger stage.
Three-time champions Netherlands had lost the 2014 final to Australia. They will be dejected, but will accept that the better team won.
Olympic silver-medallist Belgium thrashed England 6-0 in dominating fashion to clinch a spot in the final of the Hockey World Cup 2018. They showed great resilience to play out a goalless draw and keep Netherlands away from scoring before winning it in the sudden death. It was a historic day for Belgium Hockey as they registered their second biggest win after Rio Olympics silver feat.
Netherlands had entered the summit clash after edging out Australia 4-3 on penalties in the semi-final. The match ended in 2-2 after which it was Goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak who kept them in the game with some amazing work between the sticks. However, Netherlands failed to keep their nerves on the night of the final to see the cup slip away from their hands.
ENGLAND HAMMERED BY AUSTRALIA:
Earlier, two-times defending champions Australia thumped England 8-1 in the third-place playoff match.
England were thrashed 6-0 by Belgium in the semi-finals on Saturday, and were 2-0 down after nine minutes on Sunday after Blake Govers and Tom Craig goals.
Craig got two more goals, including one in a spell of three in two minutes, the others by Trent Mitton and Tim Brand.
Barry Middleton scored a consolation goal before Jeremy Hayward’s double.
England – who finished fourth at a World Cup for the third time in a row – have not beaten Australia since 2014 and lost 3-0 to them in a group game earlier in the tournament.