Bhubaneswar: 2016 Olympic Silver medalists Belgium beat Netherlands 3-2 in a nerve-wrecking encounter to clinch its maiden FIH Hockey World Cup title at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today. Belgium becomes the sixth different nation to lift the coveted trophy.
As both teams failed to score in the regulation time followed by a penalty shootout which also ended with a score of 2-2, Belgium who reached final match of the game's showpiece event defeated the three time champions 3-2 via sudden death.
In sudden death, Belgium's Florent van Aubel scored in his very first attempt to guide his side to the gold medal before Joreon Hertzberger of the Dutch side missed the chance leading his team to settle for the silver.
The tie started with both sides tightening their respective defence in the first quarter and neither was adventurous enough, like they are known to be, to attack at full strength.
The second quarter witnessed a similar style of play even though both sides would have loved to head to half time with a goal's advantage.
After the breather, both sides stepped on the gas in the third quarter but the outcome hardly changed and the deadlock continued till the end of the final quarter, taking the contest to the shootout.
Belgium were the team to beat this season as they finished their campaign on a high without even losing a single match, while, this is Netherlands fourth loss in the finals of the quadrennial sporting event. The Dutch had finished runners-up to Australia four years ago in front of their home crowd.
With agency inputs...