World Champion and European Champion, Belgium’s Vincent Vanasch was named world FIH goalkeeper of 2019 for an unprecedented 3 rd time running. The 33 year old took the award ahead of Australia’s Tyler Lovell and Victor Aly of Germany, who finished second and third respectively.
Vanasch’s rise in the game has corresponded with the national side’s run of success. While Vincent has accumulated more than 230 international caps, the national team’s reputation has grown side by side his own. The Red Lions earned a fifth-place finish at the London 2012 Olympics, silver at Rio 2016 and were impressively crowned World Cup winners in 2018. Plus they took top position in the FIH World Rankings in December 2018. The team finished impressively, in second place in the FIH Pro League, behind Australia. Then they surged to victory in front of an excited home crowd at the Belfius EuroHockey Championships. The reds finaly came 1 st thanks to a dominant 5-0 win over Spain in the final which victoriously sealed Belgium’s spot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Vanasch was named goalkeeper of the tournament.
What is behind the 3 time winners success? His club coach André Henning shed light on the talents of the great goalie:
“Vincent’s achievements and success speak for themselves. His sober nature, his hard work, his extremely high will to win and his enthusiasm for work make us all enthusiastic.”
The announcement of Vincent’s remarkable achievement came the same week as the world champions powered back to squeeze to a 3-2 victory over an impressive India side in The Pro FIH League. India had 12 shots on goal to Belgium’s 9; they had 28 circle penetrations to Belgium’s 19 and 3 PCs to their opponents’ 1. In the end, ‘Belgium’s better use of opportunities and some clear thinking gave them the edge.’ India had two chances in the opening minutes of the third quarter. It was followed by India’s second PC which Amit Rohidas flicked straight at Vanasch, who used his experience to hold a good position.
FIH Vote results:
1st place: Vincent Vanasch (BEL)
- 37% of all combined votes
- 40.8% of all Fans / Players votes
- 28.6% of all Media votes
- 39.3% of all National Association votes
Vanasch’s determination to keep setting himself new targets,was shown in his recent club switch from Waterloo Ducks to Rott-Weiss Cologne. He won 3 times the Belgian League (2012-2014) with Watducks and played for two years in the Netherlands with Oranje Zwart (currently Oranje Rood) were I won 2 times the Dutch competition (2015-2016) and 1 time the EHL (2015).
In a recent interview the ex physiotherapy student was asked what was his greatest ever save: he replied, “The best match of my career was at the Olympic Games in London against India. We won 3-0 and I believe I made more than 10 important saves during the game. After the match the players were waiting in the changing room and they made a standing ovation. It was one of my greatest moments!”
When he talked of leagues Vincent had great praise for the Dutch league:
I believe the Dutch league is the best league in the world. The game is really fast and you need to concentrate every second of the game. Players are really skillful and you need to be prepared for the unexpected things! Also the clubs are more professional and players are living for hockey and arrange their life or their work accordingly with hockey.
Vincent Vanasch, has high placed admirers in the game, including number 2 voted player from Australia, Tyler Lovell who said:
“If you look across their team, they have a very fast and talented strike line, a pretty rock solid defense and Vincent Vanasch is probably their best player.”