A new chapter was added to the history of hockey World Cup on Sunday when Belgium etched its name on the glittering Trophy after a pulsating final that witnessed the subjugation of the Netherlands by a 3-2 verdict in the tie breaker at the Kalinga Stadium.
Almost every ingredient the finals of any world level competition was in place giving the crowd delightful moments until the Belgians realised their dream of claiming the trophy for the first time.
Any trophy triumph for Belgium in the last five years would not have been a surprise. In fact, it was identified as the best for the Olympic gold at Rio but it ended up with a silver. It missed the European championship last year to the Netherlands. The contests between the two in various events have assumed legendary status with the Dutchmen maintain the edge in their 13 combats,
The encounter provided a visual delight to the observers on the control and confidence displayed by players on both sides. The pace, precision of passing and trapping were eye catching from start to finish.
At some points the Dutch appeared to have had the edge in getting a close look at the goal. At least on occasion Jeroen Hertzburger slithered on but was baulked by the alert Belgium keeper, Vincent Vanasch who had an excellent run in the championship.
Despite the furious pace at which the encounter was contest neither side could alter the figure 0-0 on the score board. The regulation time ended with the score board blank ushering in the extra time that eventually projected the verdict.
The Belgians manged to slot in three against the two by the Dutchmen amidst nerve wracking moments. Van Aubel, Wegnez, scored in the 2-2 score line after the five strokes while Jeroen Hertzburger and De Geus were successful for the Dutchmen. In the sudden death Van Aubel produced that stunning moment for the Belgians after Jeroen Hertzburger fumbled with his try.
Australia, the defending champion, picked up the bronze with a smashing 8-1 win over England.
The results: FINAL: Belgium 0-Netherlands 0: Tie breaker: Belgium 2 (van Aubel, Wagnez) Netherlands 2 (Hertzburger, De Guez): Sudden death: Belgium 1 (Van Aubel) beat Netherlands 0.
Third Place: Australia 8 (Govers, Craig 3, Milton, Brand, Hayward 2) beat England 1 (Barry Middleton).
Player of the tournament: Arthur Van Doren (Belgium); Best goal-keeper: Primin Blaak (Netherlands); Young Player: Thijs van Dam (Netherlands):
Top Scorers: 7 goals each: Blake Govers ( Australia) and Alexander Hendricks (Belgium)
Final rankings: 1 Belgium, 2. Netherlands, 3. Australia, 4 England, 5,Germany, 6. India, 7. Argentina 8, France, 9.New Zealand, 10.China, 11, Canada, 12. Pakistan, 13 Spain, 14. Ireland, 15 Malaysia 16 South Africa.