Belgium beat Australia on penalties and is an Olympic champion for the first time


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Belgium beat Australia on penalties and is an Olympic champion for the first time

Belgium won their first Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games by defeating Australia in the final, resolved in the penalty shoot-outs (3-2), with a great performance from the Belgian goalkeeper, Vincent Vanasch, after the draw (1-1) with whom the match ended.

The “Red Lions”, who were silver in Rio 2016 and bronze in Antwerp 1920, are consolidated with this victory as the most powerful team in international hockey at the moment, after having won the 2018 World Cup, the 2019 European Championship and being bronze in the last continental event last June. Australia, which was gold in Athens 2004 and repeated bronze in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, returns to the podium after sixth place five years ago in Rio.

In this Thursday’s final the Belgians went ahead with a goal from Florent van Aubel (m.32), but the Australians tied in the third quarter through Tom Wickham (m.47) and the equality remained until the conclusion of the encounter, in which only four corner penalties were sanctioned and none resulted in a goal.

In the shoot-out penalty shoot-outs, the Belgian goalkeeper, Vincent Vanasch, was decisive by stopping two shots and avoiding a shot on goal in the last one from Australia, which was repeated after the review of the first by the video referee. – “Shoot-outs” (2-3): 0-0, Govers (AUS), for goalkeeper. 0-1, van Aubel (BEL). 1-1, Ogilvie (AUS). 1-2 by Sloover (BEL). 2-2, Brand (AUS). 2-2, Denayer (BEL), for goalkeeper. 2-2, Simmons (AUS), for goalkeeper. 2-3, Hendrickx (BEL), from a penalty stroke called on Wegnez’s previous pitch. 2-3. Whetton (AUS) -after two pitches due to a review by the video referee who ordered it to be repeated.

On their way to the final, Belgium finished the group stage at the helm of B, with four wins and a draw and then defeated Spain in the quarterfinals (3-1) and India in the semifinals (5-2). Until today in Tokyo Australia had eliminated Germany in the semifinals (3-1) and the Netherlands in the quarterfinals (2-2, 3-0, “shoot-outs”), after having closed the group stage in front of the A with 4 wins and a draw.

In the match for bronze, this Thursday the Indian team defeated that of Germany (5-4) and won a medal in the Games after 41 years of emptiness. The last one was his eighth gold in Moscow 1980. With the clashes for gold and bronze, the final classification of the Tokyo Games closes headed by Belgium (1st), followed by Australia (2nd), India (3rd), Germany ( 4th), Great Britain (5th), Netherlands (6th), Argentina (7th) and Spain (8th). New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and Canada occupy the rest of the positions in this order. India will host the next World Cup, which will be held from January 13 to 29, 2023 in Bhubaneswar. In addition to the Indian team, the national teams of Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are guaranteed their participation.


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