- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Red Lions win European hockey championships
Fresh from their world champion win, the Belgian men’s field hockey team pummelled Spain 5-1 to take home the European cup at the weekend. The EuroHockey Championships was held in Antwerp, with the Red Lions winning the final on Saturday.
It was Belgium’s first time winning the biennial event, which is normally dominated by Germany and the Netherlands. The win automatically qualifies Belgium for a place in next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The team brought home silver from the Rio Games in 2016.
Belgium dominated the match, scoring four goals in the first half. The second half was a mere formality for the team, particularly for Victor Wegnez, who was ultimately named Player of the Tournament. Red Lion Vincent Vanasch was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament, while both Tom Boon and Alexander Hendrickx took home Top Goalscore awards, with five each.
“If you had told me 10 years ago that we would reach this level,” I wouldn’t have believed you,” said team captain Shane McLeod. “So many coaches have come and gone. But despite all the disappointments, we kept it together and continued to work. So it’s so beautiful to be both the world and European champions.”
New Zealander Shane McLeod was named Red Lions coach in 2016, immediately taking the team to medal territory and continuing the upward trajectory. “Of all the coaches I’ve had – and there have been plenty – he’s the best. He’s not only very strong tactically, he’s good with the players.”
The EuroHockey women’s championship was also played in Antwerp last week, with the Netherlands winning their 10th title.
Photo, from left: Gauthier Boccard, Simon Gougnard, goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch and Player of the Tournament Victor Wegnez celebrate their first European championship win ©Dirk Waem/Belga