Sunday, June 23, 2024

Germany lift men’s Hockey World Cup as Belgium beaten on shoot-out

Bhubaneswar — Does anyone care for grind-them-out 1-0 wins anymore? The Star Wars theme tune rang out, but this truly was the five-day tale of how Germany struck back and returned to the top table for the first time in 10 years following another pulsating, riveting come-from-behind victory to depose Belgium and become world champions. 

We can’t all be gifted popcorn hockey as we have in the last seven days in Bhubaneswar, but Andre Henning’s side somehow delivered a sublime evening script once more. Although this time they came from 2-0 down, failing with a penalty stroke, to take a 3-2 lead somewhat earlier than expected than their two previous eyes-wide-open finales, leaving Belgium to find a champion’s riposte and take the final to a shoot-out. 

In sudden death, the tournament standout Niklas Wellen and Thies Prinz – overcoming nerves to beat the circle ‘aura’ that is his club team-mate Vincent Vanasch – twice scored. After the 14th effort, Tanguy Cosyns, who had been so effective in normal time, twisted and turned but failed to upend Jean-Paul Danneberg, once again coming on so effectively for the 23m drama. Belgium’s team legacy remains intact after their own story of the last five years, but four years after Brussels turned red, Cologne will now be painted black. “These past weeks have been crazy, unbelievable, ups and downs and at the end we are world champions,” said Prinz.

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