Harpal Singh Bedi / Bhubaneswar
Playing with a clinical precision Belgium upstaged two time winner Germany 2-1 to make their maiden entry in the semi finals of the Hockey World Cup at Kalinga stadium here Thursday.
Germany, looking pale shadow of yore, took the lead through Diieter Linnekogel (14th) Belgium, silver medallist at Rio Olympics equalised through Alexander Hendrickx (18th) and, Tom Boon (50th) gave them the winner.
Germany who made the semis 11 times till date, but finished only sixth in 2014 again failed to cross the quarter final hurdle as Belgium, set up a semi final clash with England slated for 15 December..
The Germans took the initiative to open up the game and in the third minute Christopher Rhur intercepted a ball and set up an opening but the Red sticks not foiled the move but launched a counter-attack .
FT. The @BELRedLions make it to the World Cup Semi-Finals for the first time ever as @TomBoon27's goal and some capable defending carries them past an energetic @DHB_hockey team on 13th December at the OHMWC Bhubaneswar 2018.#GERvBEL #IndiaKaGame #HWC2018 #DilHockey pic.twitter.com/1eS4r7DFgv
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) December 13, 2018
The two time winners kept pressing and the Belgians were forced to fall back to defend their citadel With having some of the game’s best attackers, the Germans gained the control of the midfield and pushed rivals the backfoot .
Belgium regrouped themselves and launched the counter which created some commotion in German defence who however warded off the challenge. Another Belgium attack followed and they earned a penalty corner from that.
Alexander Hendrickx ‘s flick was deflected for a long corner. Germans retaliated with Tom. Grambusch making a super run down into the Belgium circle and tried to set up fellow striker but his cross was well intercepted by defender Sebastien Dockier.
The former champions kept the pressure and the Belgium defence finally collapsed in the 14th minute when a counter move created panic in the defence and Dieter Linnekogel taking advantage of the chaos slammed the ball home to give Germany the lead (1-0)
Belgium hit back strongly and earned a penalty corner in the final minute the quarter. It led to a second penalty corner, which is superbly saved by Tobias Walter but it led to a third penalty corner and. Walter made another save.
. Belgium started the second quarter strongly and made two good attacks from right flanks through Simon Gougnard.and was rewarded with a penalty corner. and this time Alexander Hendrickx flicked the ball home. (1-1) .
Buoyed by this equaliser ,the Belgians started raiding the German citadel and forced five more penalty corners but each time they found Tobias Walter tough nut to crack.
Germans suddenly looked stressed out, they seemed to have lost steam and will to fight back for which they were once so famous.
As the Belgians stepped up the pressure, Germans became panic ridden and clue less. Their attacks lacked cohesion and they hardly looked threatening.
The Red sticks upped their ante and in the 49th minute they earned their ninth penalty corner. Hendrickx’s shot was cleared by the goal keeper
The Belgians earned the crucial break through in 50th minute. Belgium skipper Thomas Briels made a good move but Walter again came to his side’s rescue but on a rebound Tom Boons intercepted the ball and slammed it into the cage, and that turned out to be the winner.