Hockey World Cup 2018: Final - Belgium vs Netherlands - 3 talking points

The Red Lions roared like never before at Bhubaneswar
The Red Lions roared like never before at Bhubaneswar
Modified 23 Dec 2018
Top 5 / Top 10

Two sides who knew each other extremely well played out an intense and absorbing contest that was balanced on a knife-edge for pretty much the entire duration of play.

Both sides got through to the quarterfinals with an identical 2-1 margin in matches that could have gone either way. The Belgians made it past Germany with a winning goal scored in the 50th minute by Tom Boon after the Germans had taken an early lead.

Incredibly enough, the Dutch too got past the Indians with Mink van der Weeden scoring the winner in the 50th minute - in more controversial circumstances, possibly.

The semifinals, however, could not have been more different as the Red Lions mauled Danny Kerry's hapless English side by a 6-0 margin while Max Caldas' boys had to endure the unenviable pressure of getting through a tense shootout after pushing the Australians back with some amazing aggression in regulation time.

It was always expected to be a close contest, and it could not have been any closer.

The slightest error on one end of the pitch could have led to a deciding goal, but that was not to be, as both sides were tidy and thorough in defence - tightening up the gaps at the back as the match progressed.

We take a look at 3 factors that may have influenced the final outcome of the summit clash that ended with a victory for Belgium in sudden death shootout after a goalless draw in regulation time.

#3 Mink van der Weeden - one of the biggest disappointments at Odisha 2018

At the Rio Olympics, Mink Van der Weeden was in prime form as he displayed his lethal drag flicking skills on the big stage, scoring a couple of goals against Ireland, a hattrick against Canada, and one goal each against Argentina, India, and Australia.

Van der Weeden also scored against the Belgians at Rio, albeit in a losing cause in the semifinals - but failed to repeat the feat in the World Cup finals in spite of the Dutch earning a couple of PCs.

The ace drag-flicker who returned from injury after missing the Champions Trophy at Breda was touted to be the most lethal weapon in Max Caldas' arsenal - but ends the World Cup with just three goals from seven matches.

The winner against India - scored with one runner less to defend, after Amit Rohidas had been penalized, can hardly be described as van der Weeden's best effort,

It would be fair to say that the Dutch strikers performed admirably to help their side win a second successive silver without much help from their principal drag-flicker, as former India goalkeeper Ashish Ballal pointed out after the match.

"PCs let Holland done. Holland was feared for their lethal penalty corners - but the PCs were dismal in this tournament and let them down on the day."

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Published 17 Dec 2018
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