Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Hockey World Cup: Belgium men put age aside in legacy quest

Men's Hockey World Cup 2023, result: Netherlands 2 Belgium 2 (2-3 SO)

Bhubaneswar — It was all white on the night – but only just. Belgium, wearing their white shirts for the fifth time at this World Cup, twice came back against a tough Netherlands outfit to set up a European showdown with Germany on Sunday.

This was ultimately won on a shoot-out, Vincent Vanasch, their 35-year-old keeper, exploding into life and Belgium, the second oldest team here, are now one match away from painting the city of Brussels red, having reached back-to-back finals here.

After Jip Janssen had twice given the Dutch the lead in the first and third quarters, Tom Boon and Nico de Kerpel struck back either side of half-time in an engrossing all-European affair. Belgium never let this young Dutch side the ascendancy. Instead it was the Red Lions’ vice-like grip which proved too much, even after the excellent Pirmin Blaak had saved a Tom Boon penalty stroke in the last 10 minutes.

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