The Belgian Lions, the Belgian national men’s hockey team, returned to the professional hockey competition on Saturday night with a large victory over Germany 6-1 (first half: 2-0) on Saturday night at the sports facilities d’Uccle, in Brussels. Developed under the direction of new coach Michel van den Heuvel and finding its audience for the first time since its Olympic title, the number 1 seed got the best of the fourth round of the last Olympics thanks to goals from Sébastien Duquerre, Cédric Charlier , William Ghislaine and Nicolas de Kerbel (2x) and John-John Dahmane. The two teams will meet on Sunday for revenge, starting at 4.30 p.m.
Before the start of the meeting, the red lions were in the spotlight. International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Thierry Weil officially presented the former Pro League trophy to former captain Thomas Brills, who retired since the Tokyo Olympics. Goodbye and with his total of 359 heads, the Orange Road player, 34, was able to greet and congratulate his teammates on the pitch for the last time before the start of the match. The world number one dominated the first quarter without the injured Simone Gugnard and Florent d’Opel with three very clear chances. John John Domain misses a kick-off in the seventh minute. Response side, Germany, which finished fourth in the last Olympics, obtained the first PC, also poorly framed. Cédric Charlier created the two best chances to open the scoring in the 8th and 11th minutes. William Gislin isolated himself well because a Racing player first touched the goal defended by Alexander Stadler before drifting towards the right post of the opposing goalkeeper.
It wasn’t until the second quarter for the Red Lions. A penetration of Tom Boone on the right finds Sébastien Docker on the left post. His recovery deceived Stadler (1-0, 19). Two Belgian CPs were well repelled by the defense of Homomas. Charlier again warned against a backhand kick (24) before the attacker himself came into force after a cross which was blocked by Nicolas de Kerbel (2-0, 24). The defending champion did not leave his mark on the match in the second half. Ghislaine walked around her apartment regularly, Charlier lost a duel against Stadler, while Vincent Vanach was of little use. Tanguy Cosyns’ left surplus allowed Ghislaine to triple the Belgian lead (3-0, 37). The last period began with the rescue of Vanach from a Niklas Whelen mission. “The Wall” once again shone twice against Malte Hellwig and Thies Prinz, proving that he is still the best goalie on the hockey planet. In counter-attack, Nicolas de Kerpel shot Stadler well under fire (4-0, 50). Belgium has not used the last 3 computers. At the end of the match, Mario Schechner saved the honor by recovering near Vanche (54th place), before De Kerbel (58th place) and Domaine (59th place, in computer rebounds) equalize the score 6-1.
With packages from Australia and New Zealand (travel restrictions), not currently replaced by the FIH, this third edition of the Pro League will be played with only 7 countries. The Red Lions continue the Pro League with a double confrontation against the Netherlands, on November 26 and 28, in Rotterdam – the last two caps of the year – before continuing the competition in Argentina in 2022 (12 and 13/02 ).
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