Hockey World Cup 2018: Belgium to postpone celebrations despite making history

Even after securing the country’s maiden World Cup medal by reaching the final for the first time in six appearances, Olympic silver medallist and World No. 3 Belgium had a reason to show some restraint.

“It's a historic moment. Not only reaching the final but the way we did it. We really deserved to win and deserved the final” said Belgium captain Thomas Briels after his team’s biggest ever victory, a 6-0 win against England in the semifinals.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

The Belgian players will keep their feet on the ground and postpone their celebrations for 24 hours.

Even after securing the country’s maiden World Cup medal by reaching the final for the first time in six appearances, Olympic silver medallist and World No. 3 Belgium had a reason to show some restraint. The players did not want to spoil the fine campaign before getting the best possible result.

“It's a historic moment. Not only reaching the final but the way we did it. We really deserved to win and deserved the final. Still, we have one big step ahead. It's key to recover as fast as possible,” said Belgium captain Thomas Briels after his team’s biggest ever victory, a 6-0 win against England in the semifinals, in the World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

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“We will try to keep our feet on the ground and recover as fast as possible. In 24 hours, we have to play again (in the final). That's the key for now.

“There are always positives and negatives (of playing on consecutive days). If you have a couple of more days, you have more rest. The guys did a lot of work today to beat England. Now we have to take food and go to sleep. We hope we can celebrate tomorrow night.”

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The run-up to the semifinals was not ideal for Belgium on Saturday as midfielder Simon Gougnard, who had been an integral part of the side for about nine years and scored a goal against England, received the news of his father’s death at 2 O’clock in the night. It was a shocker for the closely-knit team and the players wore black arm-bands in the match.

“It was difficult. His father was quite sick. It is a shame he couldn't be there with his father, but he really wanted to play. So, we dedicate the victory to his father. Today our memories are with him, especially with Simon and his father,” said Briels, with a touch of sadness.