HOCKEY: Belgium takes Men’s World Cup on penalties

Belgium's happy winners at the FIH Men's World Cup (Photo: FIH)

There’s a first time for everything and Belgium became the sixth nation to hoist the FIH men’s World Cup trophy after winning a penalty shoot-out, 3-2, over thee-time winner The Netherlands.

The final ended 0-0 in regulation time, then Florent van Aubel scored for Belgium on its first shot. Jeroen Hertzberger did the same for the Dutch for a 1-1 tie. But the Dutch missed three in a row and Victor Wegnez and van Aubel scored for a 3-1 lead after four frames. Jonas de Geus scored for the Dutch, but that was all they could muster.

It was the first time in the finals for Belgium, but frustration for the Dutch, who also finished second in 2014 (but have won the tournament in 1973-90-98).

In the semifinals, Belgium crushed England, 6-0, and the Dutch had to go to penalties to defeat Australia after a 2-2 tie in regulation (4-3 on penalty shots). Australia won the bronze medal with a 8-1 pounding of the English.

Belgium ended up as the only unbeaten team in the World Cup, with a 6-0-1 record. The Dutch ended 5-2-0; Australia was 5-1-0 and England ended at 3-3-1.

Held in Bhubaneswar (IND), the tournament awards included Player of the Tournament to Belgium’s Arthur van Doren. In terms of goals, Australia’s Blake Govers and Belgian Alexander Hendrickxx each had seven and Gonzalo Peillat (ARG) had six. The top goalkeeper was Primin Blaak (NED).

The complete match results are here.