Hockey World Cup 2018: Belgium win maiden World Cup twice in one night

Belgium defeated Netherlands in penalty shootout to win their maiden Hockey World Cup title. (Source: Twitter/FIH_Hockey)

Belgium won the hockey World Cup take 1- Arthur de Sloover steps up for the penalty stroke in the shootout. He rolls around Pirmin Blaak and then takes a reverse hit into the net. Belgium celebrate as they win the shootout 3-2. The organisers started brining out the podiums and barricades for presentation stage to the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. But they were stopped midway and sent back. Netherlands had taken a review. The replay showed Sloover had hit his leg. The goal was cancelled.

Belgium win World Cup take 2: The match goes to sudden death. Florent van Aubel steps up for the shootout. He dodges Blaak and takes the shot. The ball goes inside the net. Netherlands review again, but this time it had struck Blaak’s leg. Goal counted.For the Dutch, star striker Jeroen Hertzberger steps up. Belgium goalkeeper goes over him, and blocks him. Hertzberger panicks and takes a quick hit – it goes over the goal.

In one night, Belgium did something they had never done before – twice. With 3-2 (0-0) scoreline in shootouts, the Red Lions secure the gold.

What happens when something like this happens? Belgium coach Shane McLeod says that there is an adrenaline rush – that makes you do things you would not normally do. It happened with him – the calm, gentle coach was seen having a Jose Mourinho moment – he threw his bottle away to celebrate.

“It’s been a funny day. We spoke on pre-game about how it was in the stars that we could win the World Cup. When that happened – I said, it was a sad joke. That’s what it felt like – we won it, but then it was taken away from us. But luckily for us, we won it back, and there was a massive adrenaline of rush. I threw my bottle in the air away 50m. It was a really special moment. To take that get away, it made it a little bit more special,” he said.

He was not the only. Skipper Thomas Briels was dancing in the media room – before bidding farewell to the reporters. Referring to Belgium’s past defeats at the Olympics and Europeans, he said: “Sometimes you say you have to lose a final to win a final. We lost our shares of final. The game was exciting. It is hard to believe we are World No.1, we are the World Champions.”

Before the start of the World Cup final between Belgium and Netherlands, there were a few distractions. Just 30 minutes to the game and enters, perhaps, the biggest name in Indian sports – Sachin Tendulkar. As the retired cricketer waved from the VIP balcony, people took out their smartphones and gathered in numbers to click photos from down below. It mattered little for a while that the two finalists were warming up.

The weather in the final was not like on most days of the tournament. Unlike a regular day in the city, the temperature dipped and it was drizzling, further making the weather a bit unbearable. But when the match started, the crowd glued their attention towards the action on the pitch. After all, these were the two best teams in the world playing against each other.

The match was an equal affair. Both teams created a few chances and defended well in their own halves. Netherland’s best chance came from two quick penalty corners but each time, Mink van der Weerden took a poor shot and wasted the effort.

Jeroen Hertzberger and skipper Billy Bakker kept breaking through Belgian midfield and put pressure on their defence. But the defence from the Red Lions did them no easy entry. A reverse hit from Jonas de Geus was saved brilliantly by goalkeeper Vincent Vansach.

Belgium had to defend for a lot of passes but it did not deter their confidence. In the final few minutes of the final quarter, Belgium pressed forward deep inside the Dutch half. Cedric Charlier opened up a goal chance for Nicolas de Kerpel, but his shot was saved by Blaak. With no goals in regulation time, the match went to penalties, where the Golden Generation of Belgium won the big prize.

“A lot of people have dreamt about this for so long. Lot of people had worked hard for this. So we are happy we could give back to them. We don’t want to stop here. Once you win, it takes to more victories. This should give us a lot of confidence in the future tours. If we remain a team like, things will work great for us” Briels said.

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