Hockey WC: Belgium want to win the trophy for player who lost his dad
Belgium want to win World Cup for teammate Gougnard, whose father died on Friday, says teammate Arthur van Doren; Dutch stun defending champs Oz
The Netherlands stole the show on Saturday with an exciting 4-3 shootout victory over defending champions and World No. 1 Australia in the second semi-final, but No. 3 Belgium have an added motivation to do well in the final, after hammering England 6-0 in the first semi-final on Saturday.
Gougnard stays back
On Friday night, one of Belgium's star players Simon Gougnard, learnt that his father passed away. He was distraught but decided to stay back nevertheless to help his team qualify for their maiden World Cup final. They did, and Gougnard even scored one of the goals for them. His teammates now want to win the World Cup for him.
The Netherlands' players celebrate their World Cup semi-final win over Australia in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
"Simon got a call at 2 am last night, informing him that his father, who had been unwell for some time passed away. At breakfast, this morning, he informed all of us about the death. We were shocked. Tears rolled down our eyes as he was speaking to us. It's very brave of him to stay back and play the way he did," Belgium's Arthur van Doren, a 2017 FIH Player of the Year and FIH Rising Player of the Year award-winner, told mid-day moments after the win.
"It's such a hugely-emotional moment for Simon but he still played so well. Our thoughts are with him and his family," said Belgium forward Tom Boon. Van Doren said the team will work doubly hard in today's final for Gougnard's sake. "Simon had spoken to his father only two days ago. I'm getting goosebumps talking about this. He has shown great character for us today and now we have an obligation to go all out for him and his family in the final," said Van Doren.
'We deserved to beat Oz'
Meanwhile, the Netherlands felt that their nerve-wracking win over Australia keeps them in good stead for the final. The Dutchmen were leading 2-1 before the fighting Aussies got the equaliser with just 26 seconds left on the clock.
Belgium's Arthur van Doren
Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak however, carried his fine form from the match into the shootout to deny the Australians the opportunity of defending their title for a second time. We made it tough for ourselves but deserved to win tonight [against Australia]. We know Belgium well as we are neighbours, so we have a good chance to win the final," said Netherlands' Jeroen Hertzberger.
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