Belgium etched their name in the history books as they entered the semi-finals of the Hockey World Cup for the first time in their history.
After a see-saw battle which nobody wanted to lose, Belgium got the better of European rivals Germany by a 2-1 margin at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
Two-time World Cup winners Germany were favourites going into the game. But their performances this time were not so impressive.
The magic on the turf from the Germans was missing. Save the performance against Malaysia, this German side were not looking to be a contender for the title.
Belgium on the other hand were dominating best in their last two matches against South Africa and Pakistan.
Belgium have their best generation of players and this bunch rightly proved with their impressive performance against Germany.
Dieter Linnekogel gave Germany the lead in the 14th minute. But Belgium equalised in the second quarter through a brilliantly taken penalty corner from Alexander Hendrickx.
The third quarter remained goalless as both sides were taking a cautious approach. But Tom Boon utilised a mistake from the German defenders to put his side ahead.
Belgium will now face England in the semi-final on Saturday.
Let us look at the three reasons why Belgium won the game:
#3 Belgium kept their defence solid
As Germany started making all the attack right from the word go, Belgium kept the shape of their defence and waited for their turn.
Germany have some of the best attackers on their side and it was not something unusual from them.
Matts Grambusch, Christopher Ruhr and Florian Fuchs were operating from the sides and the middle as Germany had the upper hand. They deservedly took the lead as Belgium finally came short of resistance in front of a consolidated attack from the Germans.
But that seemed a momentarily lapse of concentration from the Belgian side, as they tightened their grip on the match and never committed a mistake within their own half. Germany kept pressing hard but to no avail. The Germans didn’t get a penalty corner in the whole match sums up the story.
Once again it was Arthur van Doren who stole the show in defence. He was standing like a wall in the Belgian defence and made timely interceptions, brilliant tackles and effective blocks to frustrate the Germans. Honestly, apart from the goal, Germany failed to open up Belgian defence.