Hockey World Cup 2023: Belgium begins title defence with win against South Korea; Germany beats Japan

Belgium pumped in five goals in the last 30 minutes to trounce a fighting South Korea 5-0 and begin its Hockey World Cup title defence in style at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

: Belgium players celebrate after scoring a goal during the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Pool B match between Belgium and Korea at Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

: Belgium players celebrate after scoring a goal during the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Pool B match between Belgium and Korea at Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar. | Photo Credit: PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak

Belgium pumped in five goals in the last 30 minutes to trounce a fighting South Korea 5-0 and begin its Hockey World Cup title defence in style at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

Belgium pumped in five goals in the last 30 minutes to trounce a fighting South Korea 5-0 and begin its Hockey World Cup title defence in style at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

Germany, too, endured the challenging phase of a goalless first half to beat a gritty Japan 3-0 in the other Pool-B encounter.

Its sturdy defence helped Korea deny World and Olympic champion Belgium any advantage in the first two quarters.

The Red Lions, opting not to field the experienced John-John Dohmen due to flu, explored both flanks and earned two penalty corners in the first half but could not breach the Korean citadel.

However, drag-flicker Alexander Hendrickx drew first blood by converting a short corner in the opening minute of the third quarter.

The goal made the Koreans commit frequent mistakes inside the circle and let Belgium gather some rhythm by scoring through Tanguy Cosyns, Florent van Aubel, Sebastien Dockier and Arthur de Sloover.

Korea suffered as it could not utilize its six penalty corners.

A below-par Germany, which could not capitalize on its four short corners in the first half, also witnessed a similar script against Japan.

Its captain Mats Grambusch clinically deflected in a variation to score from a penalty corner early in the penultimate period.

The Japanese resistance crumbled after that.

Christopher Ruhr doubled the lead by completing a superb counter-attack with a spectacular goal. He beat Japanese keeper Takashi Yoshikawa in a one-on-one situation like one sees during penalty shootouts.

An unmarked Thies Prinz made it 3-0 in the final quarter.

The results
Belgium 5 (Alexander Hendrickx 31; Tanguy Cosyns 43; Florent van Aubel 50; Sebastien Dockier 52; Arthur de Sloover 58) bt South Korea 0; Germany 3 (Mats Grambusch 36; Christopher Ruhr 41; Thies Prinz 49) vs Japan 0.
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