Germany is the Hockey World Cup champion
Germany is the new World Hockey Champion. It dethroned defending champions Belgium to win its first ever World title on Indian soil. In 1982 and 2010, Germany had lost the gold medal games to Pakistan and Australia, respectively.
For Germany, it was its third World Cup title win. It had earlier won the elite FIH tournament in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur and again on its home ground at Monchengladbach in 2006.Incidentalkly, it was also the first medal in any major hockey event for each and every member of the new champion team.
Christopher Ruhr, a member of the German team, had announced on arrival in Odisha that “we have come to win the coveted Cup”. And he proved himself by playing an effective role in his team’s historic triumph.
It was a big heartbreak for the defending champions Belgium who had at one stage looked comfortably placed with a 2-0 lead. But Germany once again proved that its last second victory over Australia was no fluke. Their win was all the more credible as the Germans had failed to make use of a penalty stroke in the second quarter. It was skipper Mats Grambusch who hit the goalpost with his high rising flick on the right side in the 19th minute.
But the Germans did not allow this miss to upset their game or their strategy.
After drawing level at 2-2, Germany had in fact taken the lead when skipper Mats Grambusch scored a gem of a field goal in the 48th minute. But that was no problem for Belgium. It was all over German territory in the last five minutes and snatched the all important equalizer in the 59th minute when Tom Boon scored. In fact, when the third goal for Belgium came, A. Hendrickx, their star drag flicker who got injured during the tournament here, had left the ground minutes earlier when the teams were tied at 2-2.
Earlier, the Netherlands managed to beat Australia to take the bronze medal. The Netherlands won 3-1 for its third bronze medal finish in a World Cup tournament.
Germany was well served by imported Gonzalo Peillat, formerly of Argentina. It was he, who had the second goal for his team to make the score 2-2 in the 41st minute.
Belgium started well. Playing to a game plan to keep the Germans at bay, it had not only excellent man to man marking, zonal marking but also worked out excellent moves of Florent van Aubel in dazzling form.
He gave the defending champions the lead in the 10th minute with a brilliant field goal. A reverse flick pass from Antonie Kina a couple of minutes later saw Tanguy Cosyns hosting the second goal.
Trailing 0-2, Germany pulled one back in the 28th minute when Niklas Wellen made an excellent use of a rebound of a penalty corner taken by Gonzalo Peillat in the 28th minute. Germany had to wait till its fourth penalty corner in the 41st minute to draw level with Gonzalo Peillat hitting the target with a high rising flick.
Seven minutes later Mats Grambusch made amends for his earlier penalty stroke miss with a gem of a field goal.
When Belgium’s video referral for a penalty corner was upheld in the 58th minute it looked like a goal was on its way as the defending champions were all out to restore parity. And Tom Boon justified the confidence of his team mates in him with a deadly flick to take the game to a penalty shootout.
And the shootout saw the Germans exhibiting better nerve control than their opponents to win 2-1 in the sudden death after the first round had ended in a 3-3 stalemate. The score at the end of the regulation period was also 3-3.
Niklas Wellen was a deserving man of the match and tournament.