Hockey World Cup 2018 final: 3 Reasons why Netherlands lost
Belgium beat Netherlands 3-2 in the shootout to win the World Cup for the first time ever, becoming the sixth nation to lift the trophy.
Both the teams drew blanks in the one hour of open play, which was more down to a defensive masterclass from both the teams rather than their attacking frailties.
The first half showings were much more energetic and full of intent when compared to the second half performance from both the teams, but neither of them featured any goals in the end.
The World Cup final went to a shootout for the first time in its history and was decided at 'sudden death' in front of an eccentric Bhubaneshwar crowd.
Netherlands went 2-0 up in the shootout with Jeroen Hertzberger and Jonas de Geus scoring on their attempts. Belgium had one attempt in hand and Florent van Aubel stepped up to convert his chance.
While Seve Van Ass missed his attempt, Victor Wegnez scored on his to equalize the shootout. In sudden death, the Dutch missed their chance and the Belgians initially scored, but the video referral ruled their goal as illegitimate.
With Belgians taking the shooting opportunity first, Van Aubel scored on his attempt to put the pressure on Netherlands, and it paid off as Hertzberger missed this time around - handing the World Cup trophy to neighbors Belgium.
Here are three reasons that could explain Netherlands' loss:
#3 Dutch not clinical enough against big sides
The Netherlands side's inability to score against the sides with well-drilled defenses and good defensive tactics showed from the early part of the tournament. While the Dutch team put a combined 17 goals past Malaysia, Pakistan and Canada in just three matches, they managed a mere five goals against Germany, India and Australia combined.
In the final, the Oranje had 20 circle penetrations compared to the Belgians' 13, and a total of 7 shots compared to 4 from the Belgian side. They also had two penalty corners, one of which was wasted with a new inventive variation and the other wasn't even stopped properly by the Dutch contingent.