- South Korea defeated their neighbor country, Japan, 2-1, in the first match to strengthen their claim for third place.
- While two time world champion Germany and reigning champions Belgium fought to a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Teams from Pool B played their second set of games on Day 5 of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup from Bhubaneswar.
The first teams were Japan and Korea, who were looking for their first points after losing their respective opening matches against Germany and Belgium. Korea scored twice through Lee Jungjun to storm back into the game and grab the lead early in the second half, which they would maintain until the very end to win 2-1. Japan had scored once within the first 70 seconds of the game. Korea already has three points as a result, while Japan was still looking for their first.
In the day’s final match, Germany and Belgium, two countries renowned for creating exciting matches, wonderfully delivered on its promise. The first team to score was Belgium, who stormed out of the gates. Germany, who started the game slowly but eventually gained momentum, evened the score before the interval. The Germans maintained their lead throughout the second half and ultimately scored in the 53rd minute. However, Belgium dominated for the next 2 minutes and managed to tie the score thanks to a goal from Victor Wegnez after Thies Pirnz received an untimely green card.
Germany vs Belgium:
A thrilling match between Germany and Belgium was predicted, and the first quarter lived up to the expectations. Alex Hendrickx was on the verge of scoring from Belgium’s first penalty corner, but post defender Müller cleared the goal line. After that, Germany had a wonderful opportunity when a cross from the right fell to Ruhr, but Vanasch expertly stopped his snap shot. Charlier managed to dribble past three German players and slam the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to give Belgium the lead.
Both teams had numerous opportunities to score in the second half, but the score remained tied thanks to great keeping by Stadler and some off-target efforts by German forwards. In the 52nd minute, a push inside the Belgian circle gave Germany a penalty shot, which Tom Grambusch converted with ease to give Germany a significant lead. Within two minutes of conceding, Belgium had evened up due to a fantastic scoring opportunity made by Wegnez owing to an unselfish pass from Denayer. Wegnez’s strike found the bottom left corner with precision.
Niklas Wellen was awarded player of the match.
Japan vs Korea:
Although both Korea and Japan are known for their defensive strategies, it only took Japan 70 seconds to score after they won an early penalty corner that was expertly placed by Ken Nagayoshi in the right side of the goal. However, Korea would not fall behind for long as Lee Jungjun was cleverly passed through on goal by Jang and successfully hoisted the ball over the keeper and into the net. In the second quarter, Lee pounced on a loose ball in the circle to give Korea the lead. Before the half ended, Japan had two excellent chances to tie the game. With just over a minute remaining in the half, the Japanese players, who had crowded the Korean circle, failed to convert the rebound after captain Seren Tanaka hit the post.
There were many attacking opportunities in the second half, but the goalkeepers ultimately controlled the outcome of the match. Outstanding goals were scored by Takashi Yoshikawa for Japan and Jaehyeon Kim for Korea. As Japan launched attack after attack on the Korean goal in an effort to score an equaliser, Kim in particular was crucial for Korea. With two seconds left in the game, Japan was given a penalty corner. However, a failed trap at the top of the circle prevented Japan from tying the score, and Korea won all three points.
Korea’s two goals were scored by Lee Jungjun, who was named player of the match.