It’s almost poetic justice that Belgium hockey’s golden generation was made to celebrate twice for its first gold medal, what with the team being confined to being the second best a couple of times at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2017 European Championship.
In a comical ending to a seriously skillful display of defensive hockey that saw a 0-0 full time score, the fast-rising Belgium on Sunday made history in their maiden Men’s World Cup final by beating three-time champions Netherlands 3-2 in the penalty shootouts that gave them a feeling of becoming world champions twice.
With Belgium one shot away from glory after Holland’s Thijs van Dam failed to give his team the edge at 2-2 in the shootouts, Arthur de Sloover dribbled, turned his back and then struck the ball past Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak.
While some Belgians charged towards Sloover from the half line, the others ran to a jumping goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch. The ground staff, meanwhile, came rushing out with billboards and carpets to set up the stage for the presentation ceremony.