Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Germany emerged champions of the FIH Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup 2023 after scraping past formidable Belgium via sudden death in the nail-biting final match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

The match ended 3-3 in the regulation time. In the ensuing penalty shoot-out, both the teams were again tied at 3-3. Finally, Germany prevailed against the Red Lions by 2-1 in the sudden death to win the high-voltage match and eventually the title.

The first half witnessed a fierce contest between both the teams. Germany went all out initially to get back-to-back penalty corner opportunities in the fifth minute, but Belgian defenders thwarted those opportunities. Belgium retaliated immediately and Van Aubel Florent opened the account for the Red Lions in the ninth minute through a brilliant field goal.

They went ahead with the momentum and Cosyns Tanguy deflected a flick from the left flank into the bar to double the lead for the defending champions. Germany tried their best to make a comeback into the match during the last part of the first quarter, but it ended 2-0 in favour of the Red Lions.

In the second quarter also, Belgium stamped their authority and earned their first penalty corner in the 15th minute, but failed to capitalise. Germany came back strongly to earn a penalty stroke in the 18th minute. However, Belgium custodians stood like a rock to deny the opposition the easy scoring opportunity. They earned back to back penalty corners in the 28th minute. Niklas Wellen converted the last one to reduce the margin to 1-2.

The third quarter witnessed a nail-biting contest between both the teams and in the process, Oruz Timur from Germany and Nicolas De Kerpel got green cards. Germany earned their fifth penalty corner in the 40th minute. Penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat found the equaliser by converting the chance with elan. 

Germany broke the deadlock through Mats Grambusch who struck a fierce hit from the left flank of the board in the 47th minute to make it 3-2 in Germany's favour. The Red Lions tried their best with an all-out attacking instinct and created a couple of penalty corners in the 57th and the 58th minute. Experienced Tom Boon converted the last one to make it 3-3.

The match ended 3-3 in the regulation time and in the ensuing penalty shoot-out also both of them could score three goals from their five chances. Eventually, in the sudden death, Germany pipped Belgium to bag the coveted title.