Hockey WC: Champs Belgium hold Germany with late goal

12 Japanese players on field against South Korea

Defending champions Belgium found the equaliser with six minutes left in the match to play out a thrilling 2-2 draw against Germany and keep themselves in the hunt for a direct quarter-final berth in the FIH Men’s World Cup, in Bhubaneswar, on Tuesday.

Cedric Charlier gave Belgium the lead in the ninth minute with a field goal but Germany came back strongly and struck twice through Wellen Niklas (22nd minute) and Tom Grambusch (52nd, penalty-stroke).

Victor Wegnez scored a field goal in the 54th minute to save Belgium from defeat in the Pool B match.

Belgium and Germany are on four points from two matches and the group topper will be decided in their respective last matches on January 20 at the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela.

Belgium take on Japan while Germany face South Korea.

Belgium are currently on top of the pool on the basis of better goal difference of plus-5 as against plus-3 of Germany.

South Korea came back from one goal down to beat Japan 2-1 in an earlier Pool A match.

Lee Jung-jun struck two field goals (eighth and 23th minutes) after Ken Nagayoshi had given South Korea the lead in the first minute through a penalty-corner.

South Korea are in third spot with three points. They had lost to Belgium 0-5 in their first match. Japan also lost their first match against Germany 0-3.

12 Japanese players on field against South Korea

Meanwhile, 12 Japanese players were seen on the field towards the end of their match against South Korea, prompting the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to investigate the matter.

“In the last moments of today’s FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup match between Japan and Korea, the Japanese team had 12 players on the field of play, instead of a maximum of 11 as stipulated in the FIH Rules of Hockey,” read a statement from the FIH.

“After the match, the FIH Officials – who have not spotted this situation on the moment – have spoken to the Japanese team who have explained that they hadn’t realised this at all and expressed their most sincere apologies.

“FIH is currently investigating the issue to establish how it happened.”

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