Bhubaneswar, Dec 13 (PTI) Olympic silver medallist Belgium qualified for the semifinals of the men’s hockey World Cup for the first time ever when they defeated two-time champions Germany 2-1, here on Thursday.
World no. 3 Belgium scored through Alexander Hendrickx (18th minute) and Tom Boon (50th) to register the come-from-behind win.
World no. 6 Germany’s lone goal came from the stick of Dieter Linnekogel in the 14th minute.
Belgium will now fight it out with England on Saturday for a place in the final.
The Red Lions were by far the better side on display considering the amount of scoring chances they got the in the opening two quarters.
Belgium got their first scoring chance in the seventh minute in the form of a penalty corner but they could not capitalise on that.
Germany, however, took the lead against the run of play in the 14th minute when an unmarked Linnekogel scored from top of the circle after receiving a pass from Tom Grambusch.
Stunned by the goal, Belgium went for the offensive and secured three back-to-back penalty corners just at the stroke of first quarter but could convert none.
Three minutes into the second quarter, Belgium secured their fifth penalty corner and Hendrickx scored with a grounded flick to level the scores.
The Red Lions earned two more penalty corners in the second quarter but again faltered as Germany defended in numbers.
Four minutes after the change of ends, Germany came close to restoring their lead but Timm Herzbursch’s shot from close range was kept at bay by Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
Belgium secured their eighth penalty corner in the 37th minute but Hendrickx’s try was well defended by Tobias Hauke. Minutes later, Belgium earned their ninth penalty corner but once again Hendrickx’s effort was kept out of the target by the German defence.
Ten minutes from the final hooter, Belgium got the all-important winner through Boon who scored from a rebound after skipper Thomas Briels’ initial try was saved by German keeper Tobias Walter.
Thereafter, the Red Lions went into a defensive mode as they decided to sit back and deny and scoring opportunities to the Germans.
Six minutes from time, Germany took out their goalkeeper for an extra player and tried to attack the Belgium goal in numbers in search of the equaliser but the winners defended well to make their first appearance in the semi-final of the quadrennial event.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.