Belgium confirm hockey dominance with second win over Spain
After the victory of the Red Panthers on Saturday, the Belgian men's hockey team achieved a second European victory against Spain on Sunday evening. The Red Lions beat the host nation 3-2 in the thrilling final of the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Both countries had already booked their places at the Paris Olympics with wins in the semi-finals on Friday, with Belgium beating South Korea 4-0. The final was more of an exhibition match, with the potential to build confidence ahead of this summer's Olympics.
With the score tied at 1-1 going into the final minutes, it looked as if shoot-outs would decide the champion. But a frantic final period saw three goals in two minutes, with Belgium's Nelson Onana scoring the winner.
By beating Spain twice in the space of a weekend, Belgium have demonstrated their complete dominance of the sport at European level. Both the men's and women's teams will be among the favourites in Paris, especially the Red Lions, who are the defending Olympic champions.
Belgium already know who they will be up against in the group stages of the tournament: The Lions will face India, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Ireland in Group B. The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.
The first Olympic hockey matches will begin on Saturday 27 July. The men's final will take place on 8 August, with the women's final the day after.
Belgium's Tom Boon celebrates after scoring the 0 - 1 goal. © BELGA PHOTO JOMA GARCIA I GISBERT