Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

High-flying and formidable Belgium and Germany played out a 2-2 draw in a high-octane Pool B clash in the FIH Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup 2023 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.

It was a high-intensity start with both teams vying for the possession. But Belgium had slight upper hand with their all-out attacking instinct as they got their first penalty corner in the fifth minute. However, they missed the chance by a whisker. The Red Lions got another chance just after a minute, but thanks to a brilliant save by Germany custodian Alexander Stadler, the goal was thwarted. 

Germany pressed hard, but missed a straight forward chance in the eighth minute due to an acrobatic effort by Belgium goalkeeper Van Doren Loic. Finally Belgium, the defending champions, were rewarded due to their relentless attack with Charlier Cédric sounding the board from the right flank in the ninth minute. Belgium were 1-0 ahead after the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter witnessed Germany clawing back into the game. A close opportunity was missed in the 21st minute. However, they made quick amends to find the equaliser in the next minute by Wellen Niklas who swatted the ball into the bar with a fierce hit through the left flank. The first half ended with 1-1.

There was some intense fight and not much to differentiate between both the teams in the third quarter. The Red Lions created a penalty corner chance in the 39th minute, but could not grab the scoring opportunity. The third quarter was barren despite aggressive display of hockey by both the teams.

Belgium and Germany tried their best to break the deadlock in the final quarter. Germany earned a penalty stroke in the 52nd minute of the match. Grambusch Tom duly converted it with consummate ease to increase the lead 2-1 in their favour. Belgium didn't press the panic button and immediately resurrected. Wegnez Victor got the equaliser just after two minutes. Both the teams survived few scary moments during the end part of the match to settle for a 2-2 draw.