BELGIUM’s reign of terror in world hockey has finally ended – but captain Felix Denayer has vowed they will bounce back strongly by defending their Olympics gold in Paris next year.
For four years, the Red Lions have been untouchable - lifting the World Cup in 2018, the European Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics gold in 2021.
But on Sunday, their dominance was broken by an uncompromising Germany who edged the holders 5-4 in a penalty shootout after a nail-biting 3-3 draw.
Denayer hailed Germany for their ‘’unbelievable’’ performance but took the defeat as an eye opener for them to prepare early for their Olympics title defence.
“Our journey has been a glorious one but now we’ve hit a bump. Germany are worthy winners after matching us all the way in the final,” said the 32-year-old.
“We now need a response at the Olympics next year and we must start working towards that early.’’
Belgium now have 11 players who are over 30 years old, including Denayar, and many feel the ‘’Golden Generation’’ are beginning to lose their fire and strength.
Denayer, however, stressed that the old hands still played vital roles in getting the team into the final.
‘’It’s not over yet for us veterans as can be seen in this World Cup. We still have a lot to contribute but there are some youngsters coming up fast, and will be ready to replace us when the time comes.’’