Bhubaneswar: Belgium knocked two-time champions Germany out of the Hockey World Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 win in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Alexander Hendrickx (18’), with a powerful drag-flick, equalised for the Belgians after Dieter Linnekogel put Germany ahead in the 14th minute.
Tom Boon’s 50th-minute goal, then, sealed the quarter-final for the Olympic silver-medallists. Belgium are into the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time and will take on England on Saturday.
Belgium got a penalty corner eight minutes into the game but Hendrickx’s hit went way wide of the net.
The teams, then, engaged in a prolonged midfield battle, before Germany broke away with one minute for the first quarter to finish.
It started with Christopher Ruhr’s long pass from the half line to Tom Grambusch at Belgium’s 23-metre line.
Grambusch, then, crossed the ball to Dieter Linnekogel, who was surrounded by three defenders. But he had enough time to trap and hit the ball into the net.
Belgium earned two more penalty corners before the quarter ended but they couldn’t convert.
In the second quarter, Belgium attacked relentlessly and eventually earned their fifth penalty corner in the 18th minute.
This time, Hendrickx drag-flick managed to beat German ‘keeper Tobias Walter and went into the net. Belgium continued to dominate the second quarter, swarming the German penalty circle, fetching more short corners.
Belgium had a close shave with one minute to go in the second quarter when Niklas Wellen attempted a cross to Marco Miltkau at the goalmouth. But Miltkau, despite stretching, couldn’t reach the ball.
The German defence was mediocre throughout the game. It conceded a whopping nine penalty corners. The German saved eight of them but couldn’t stop the Belgians from invading their circle.
In the 37th minute, Germany made a swift counterattack after thwarting Belgium’s eighth penalty corner attempt: Christopher Ruhr passed the ball to Tom Grambusch within the Belgian circle.
Grambusch tapped it to an unmarked Miltkau. But the latter’s hit was padded away by Walter.
The Red Lions broke away with 10 minutes to go in the last quarter. Loick Luypaert, from the centre of the 23-metre line, passed the ball straight to his skipper Thomas Briels, who half-swiveled in front of the goalmouth and pushed the ball hard, utilising his bottom-hand power.
Goalkeeper Walter padded the ball away but Tom Boon latched on to it and shot it back at the net.
The Germans, desperate to save the match, took away the ‘keeper in the last five minutes. Despite some exciting end-to-end hockey, no more goals were scored.