World number four Belgium will take on 2002 and 2006 champions Germany as they aim to defend their title at the 15th FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. The final will be a contest between the vitality of Germany and the experience of Belgium. Belgium defeated the Netherlands in the final of the last World Cup on this very ground. After that, he became the champion by defeating Australia in the final of Tokyo Olympics.
By winning both the finals, Belgium showed that it knows how to win on the big stage and by raising the level of its game. This time, Belgium broke the challenge of the Netherlands by defeating them 3-2 in the shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in the stipulated time in the semi-finals. Belgium have one of the world’s most dynamic goalkeepers in Vincent Vanash as well as a solid wall of defense in fullback Arthur Von Doren. In such a situation, it will not be easy for strikers like Germany’s striker Niklas Wellen and Matt Grambusch to score goals in the final.
All-rounder Tom Boon (7), the second-highest goalscorer in the current World Cup including a hat-trick, striker-captain Sébastien Dockier, world’s best full-back Arthur Von Doren and goalkeeper Vincent Vanash, Belgium’s experience and last A very exciting final is expected between Germany, known for fighting till the moment. Both these teams had drawn their matches in Pool B with two goals each, but with seven points each from three matches, Belgium topped Germany on goal difference.
Out of 35 matches played between Germany and Belgium so far, 15 have been won by Belgium and 13 by Germany, while seven have been drawn. Germany, which knows the skill of converting defeat into victory, will play in the final for the fifth time in total. Germany had reached the finals in New Delhi after last, but had to be content with being runners-up for the second time after losing to Australia. Belgium and Germany have already fathomed each other’s strength in the Pool B match.
Belgium have to be commended for showing great composure despite their world’s most dangerous drag-flicker Alexander Hendricks playing in the first match and being ruled out due to injury, and the likes of Tom Boon, Cedric Charlier, Sébastien Xavier and Florent Val Abul and Dockier Due to the players, they made it to the final by registering a victory. Belgium has patiently won the rest of the matches except for a pool match draw with Germany and a two-goal draw in stipulated time against the Netherlands in the semi-finals and a win in the shootout.
Germany’s strengths are strikers and schemers Christopher Ruier (one goal), Niklas Wellen (6 goals) and the Grambusch brothers – Matt (4) and Tom (2) – drag-flicker Gonzalo Pilat (5) who left Argentina to settle in Germany . Of course, Ruyer himself scored one goal, but most of Germany’s goalscoring campaigns have been facilitated by Ruyer and Mats Grambusch. Of course, Germany beat England in a shootout in the quarter-finals and Australia in the semi-finals after a 2-2 draw in stipulated time after coming from behind, but the pressure of the final is different.
Australia, who lost in the semi-finals, will try to retain their bronze this time by defeating the Netherlands. On Sunday, the final will be played between Belgium and Germany at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar at 7 pm. While Australia and Netherlands will compete for the third place at 4.30 pm.