Belgium began their international claim to fame several years ago starting with a group of youngsters and seeing them to fruition, to now, one of the European heavy weights of men's field hockey.
The Dutch, Germans, Spanish and England (Great Britain for the Olympics) have been the big four in Europe over many years extending back to 1970 when the Dutch won the World Cup followed in 1972 with the German taking Gold at the Munich Olympics.
Now this Belgium team is beating everyone hands down and even put paid to the Kookaburras in their first round match of this World Hockey League contest completed not two weeks back.
The Kookaburras came back from their Bronze in the London Olympics to take their 5th in a row Champions Trophy last December in Melbourne beating the Dutch 2-1 in the Final. They have had the wood over the Netherlands for some time now reversing the trend from the 80s and early 90s. Once again, in this World League they sent the Dutch packing 4-3 which set up the Final with Belgium.
With the World Cup around the corner there is much at stake with every international fixture as these top quality squads prepare themselves for this classic tournament.
The Kookaburras are not new to World Cup finals' 'gold medal' victories and will make every effort to bring to this event a team ready for any eventuality under the leadership of coach Ric Charlesworth.
Meanhwhile the Black Sticks (New Zealand) are showing themselves to be a growing formidable force in world hockey as shown at this World Hockey League finishing fourth losing to the Dutch after having drawn with them in their first fixture.
Who can forget the 1968 Montreal Olympics when the New Zealand defeated Australia 1-0 in the Olympic Final for the Gold Medal. The Kiwis can never be underestimated.
Josh Hinds is a school chaplain on the Gold Coast, a family man and PSI's IT professional. Josh is an experienced writer on international sport.
Josh Hinds' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/joshua-hinds.html