The final between Australia and Belgium at the Rabobank Hockey World League tournament in Rotterdam lived up to expectations as Belgium claimed the first-ever title at the event in a dramatic nine-round shootout victory.
There was no shortage of drama in the game as Belgium came back from a one-goal deficit to take a 2-1 lead only to see it erased in the last minute by a Russell Ford strike. The shootout was no less dramatic as it took an amazing nine rounds to settle things. It was only when Chris Ciriello shot wide on the final Australian chance that the game was decided and Belgium could celebrate its first-ever title at a top-level FIH event.
It was a battle throughout the 70 minutes with neither team giving the other much breathing space. Australia’s Christopher Ciriello broke the stalemate doing what he does best – firing in drag flicks. Ciriello put all his might into the flick on a diving effort that hit the far corner of the goal and lifted Australia to a 1-0 lead 21 minutes into the game.
It was a lot of back-and-forth with the Aussies showing a little more strength as the game wore on. But Tom Boon sparked Belgium to life when he got his stick on the ball with a well-timed deflection that sent the ball top shelf for the equalizing goal in the 49th minute.
Sebastien Dockier was left unchecked at point blank range in front of the Australia net and it cost the World #2 team dearly as he was fed a centering pass that he easily popped in to give the Belgians the 2-1 lead with 11 minutes to go in the game with 11 minutes to go in the game.
Russell Ford struck with exactly 60 seconds left on the clock deflecting the ball up and over Belgian goaltender Vincent Vanash to tie the game at two and send the game to a deciding shootout.
The game was a rematch of a preliminary round meeting between the two teams, which Belgium won, 3-1. Ultimately, that win gave Belgian the easier road to the final game as the top seed out of their preliminary round.
The win gives the ninth-ranked Belgians their first-ever victory at a top-tier FIH event, a true feather in the cap for the country, which has shot up the FIH World Ranking and enjoyed massive success in the last few years.
Since the Olympic Games and to the theorem of Marc Lammers, the Belgians put up a step towards the world. Outside the physical (they never were as sharp), cal tech, tactical aspects they just have grown mentally. Progress is constant at every level during a match.
The goalkeeper: Vincent Vanasch is the undisputed holder of this strong team and always manages to goalkeeping against the big teams a strong race. The Brussels was voted "Best goalkeeper of the tournament" and has once again proved that he is also one of the best goalkeepers in the world! Regarding the goals of Australia, one can not much blame him. He provides much serenity and comfort to his supporters. He was decisive at different times. We take a look back to the sublime rescue at the end of a minute in the match against New Zealand. He confirms all the good that we expect from him. Next to him, we all remember the exemplary work of Jeremy Gucassoff to underline. The latter goalkeeper Racing has had to make as a reserve goalkeeper, but was hugely memorable present during the Shoot-Out session in the final, where he whopping three Australian attempts finished off blocks satisfied.
The defense: The rear board has also sit on a top tournament in Rotterdam. They stood there like a log and were perfectly organized. This has certainly been one of the great satisfactions of this week. Outside the twenty minutes in the second half against New Zealand, where they just casually went something to work, the Belgian defenders together reached a higher level. After the final, Marc Lammers performance and stability of its defense even more in the paint put. Arthur Van Doren deserved to win the prize of "best young player" of the tournament. But the competition for the European Championships will be fierce. Xavier Reckinger, which was still called just before beginning to replace the diseased Alexandre de Saedeleer has already demonstrated his experience but the Brabant Go is currently re super hard on the train back to recoup. Place as soon as possible
Civil society: The midfielders deliver impressive work. Like the other two lines, they intercept a countless number of balls and they provide a constant pressure on the man with the ball. It is certain that the most progress has been. Achieved in this aspect, What are still better is the fact more consitent and when attacks successfully. The day that relationships will be more favorable will ingetwijfeld Belgium one of the best countries in the werled are. The strength of this team lies not only in the individual alone, but it is the collective that makes this team so great. No stars, but 18 players who play for their country.
The attackers: Observers have always complained that Belgium could not score enough field goals. This is not so today. The danger can come from anywhere these days. Tom Bean remains the best scorer of the team with five goals (including 2 on PC), but almost all attackers have made a goal here. This board has several offensiefe smileys on our faces brought here in Rotterdam.
Le PC: Marc Lammers has a beautiful pallet of possibilities at a penalty corner: Tom Bean, Loïck Luypart, Jerome Dekeyser, Tanguy Cosyns and even Xavier Reckinger. The Belgians have four times to score through penalty during the semifinals of the World League (Tom Boon (2) and Loïck Luypaert (2)). This remains a formidable weapon for the Red Lions.