Hockey World Cup: Belgium, Germany play out 2-2 draw, Korea pip Japan 2-1
Pankaj Yadav

Hockey World Cup: Belgium, Germany play out 2-2 draw, Korea pip Japan 2-1

Bhubaneswar, January 17, 2023

Defending champions Belgium and former champions Germany battled it out for a 2-2 draw while Korea piped Japan 2-1 to stay afloat in the competition from Pool B of the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Tuesday evening.

While the two Asian neighbours dished out highly entertaining hockey, but the Europeans were more intense and played to a plan. As it is often said in sports, it is not over till it is over. Belgium, who were trailing 1-2 till the 54th minute, equalised in the 55th minute to leave the Germans bewildered.

The all-European clash had a fast paced opening and Belgium went into the lead in the in 9th minute through Cedric Charlier who intercepted a cross and moved up into the circle. He cut through a defender and with an angular shot beat the goal keeper (1-0).

The German retaliation was fast and furious but their strikers failed to beat Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch. Belgium rallied back and earned a penalty corner but Hendrickx’s flick was brilliantly cleared by defender Mathias Muller.

However, seven minutes into the second quarter Germany equalised when Niklas Wellen scored a super diagonal goal (1-1).

The second half saw moves and counter moves but no goals could be scored in the third quarter as the defence of the teams did not yield any space to each. Five minutes before the final whistle Germany were awarded a stroke and Tom Grambusch made no mistake in converting it ( 2-1).

However, Germany’s joy lasted barely two minutes as Victor Wegnez drew parity for Belgium The defending champions are heading the pool by virtue of their better goal difference but they play their last pool leaguer match against Japan while Germany take on Korea,.

Earlier, riding on Lee Jungjun’s brace, Korea pipped Japan 2-1 to stay alive in the tournament while the Samurai with this second successive defeat are virtually out of contention.

Both teams needed a win to stay alive in the competition as they had lost their opening matches to Germany and Belgium, respectively.

The contest between the two Asian neighbors opened on an electrifying note with Japan taking the lead in the very first minute through Ken Nagayoshi who converted a penalty corner (1-0).

Buoyed by this goal, Japan launched frontal attacks on the rival defence especially from right flank but failed to increase the lead as most of the attempts were thwarted by the Korean goal keeper Kim Jaehyeon.

After being under pressure for about eight minutes, the Koreans got their act together and went on the offensive and the Japan defence came under tremendous pressure and caved in.

Koreans created a move from the left and the long cross was well intercepted by unmarked Lee Jungjun who dribbled past couple of defenders and lofted the ball past onrushing goal keeper Tajkashi Yoshikawa into the cave (1-1). This happened in the eighth minute.

The Korans seized the initiative from then onwards and started attacking their rivals from both the flanks.The Japanese suddenly became panicky and fell back and crowded their defence, thus allowing their rivals a free run in the middle.

The Koreans were relentless in their attacks and in the 14th minutes they forced three penalty corners but drag flicker Jang Jonghyun could not beat goalkeeper Yoshikawa .

Eight minutes into the second quarter, Korans created another move from the right and ball was relayed to Lee Jungjun who ran into the circle and flicked the ball past Yoshikawa to score his and the team’s second goal which turned out to be the winner (2-1).

The Japanese tried to counter and Kentaro Fukuda made a good attempt from the left flank but his attempt was foiled by goal keeper Jaehyeon.

The second half was battle between the two goalkeepers and both off them brought off some stunning saves. The Koreans earned four back-to-back penalty corners in the 47th minutes but Yoshikawa stood between them and the goal.

As the time ticked away, Japanese got desperate for the equaliser even as the Koreans were determined to hold the lead. The teams attacked each other but the goalkeepers stood their ground foiling most of the efforts.

With two seconds remaining, Japan earned three penalty corners in a row, but twice Jaehyeon brought off the saves and the third time the ball went wide.

NNN

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