His knee-jerk parade had just given Germany the world championship title.

But on Sunday Jean-Paul Danneberg only realized a moment later than his colleagues that the coup had actually been achieved, that the winter fairy tale had been written and that all hopes had actually been fulfilled.

Namely when almost the entire German hockey entourage ran towards him with outstretched arms and even he, the 1.96 meter giant including goalkeeper equipment, threatened to go down in a storm of cheers.

"I wasn't quite sure if we won now," the Darmstadt resident told ARD.

"I was in the tunnel and didn't let anything get close to me." And in the final shootout for gold, I only let a little through.

Danneberg mitigated three of the seven penalties that had become necessary for the Belgian world-class players – then it was done: 5:4 victory (it was 3:3 after regulation time), the third World Cup title for the German Hockey Association (DHB) after 2002 and 2006. Danneberg's first major tournament held the main prize ready for him.

For him who started the championship as a supporting actor and substitute and ended as a match winner in quarterfinals and finals.

Danneberg otherwise only number two

For the World Cup in East India, the agreement was that if there was a penalty shoot-out, first-choice goalkeeper Alexander Stadler would concede the goal in favor of Danneberg.

At just 21 years old, he played the role of man for the special, nerve-wracking moments in final one-on-one situations brilliantly.

Only in the round of the last eight, when he parried two attempts by the English.

But that should only be a foretaste of his big appearance in the final.

Basically, as a goalkeeper, when so much depends on you in the end, you put "a lot of pressure on yourself," said Danneberg, who learned his trade and footwork at home TEC Darmstadt and recently played there for a few games in the fight against relegation from the third division helped out.

"You get a real pulse when you imagine how the shootout will go." It was only different in the greatest moment of his young career.

“It was incredible: I felt zero pressure.

I don't know why that was," he said.

Perhaps it was a factor that he had previously excelled in the same role on the blue artificial turf of Bhubaneswar's grand hockey stadium.

At the U-21 World Cup in 2021, he came back for the shootout in the semifinals – and led the DHB selection into the final as a “penalty killer”.

At the U-21 European Championship last year, he was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament, then as number one in the German goal.

Danneberg grew up in a sports-loving household - his mother was a competitive swimmer, his father is a sports orthopedist - with two other siblings who were talented in hockey.

His sister Josefine was German junior champion, while his twin brother, who was just a few minutes younger, made it into the junior national team.

He only became a goalkeeper because he didn't feel like running so much.

But he became a goalkeeper who, despite his size, is extremely fast and agile.

Who is doing the splits in no time and then back on his feet.

Who can frighten opposing attackers with his full stature.

He showed what nerves of steel and decisiveness Danneberg has against the experienced Belgian shooters, who went into the game as reigning world champions and Olympic champions and only Danneberg stood in the way of shaping a golden era.

"I could feel the trust of the whole team," said the man from southern Hesse, ennobled as an "incredible goalkeeper" by team captain Mats Grambusch.

Danneberg also plays with Grambusch in the club at Rot-Weiss Köln.

After a few years at the top club Mannheimer HC, he switched to the Rhenish series champions, who have been attracting the best German players for years because of the sporting prospects and the large network with a view to studying and starting a job.

There, however, he has so far had to sort himself as number two between the posts.

Ironically, the Belgian national goalkeeper and extra talent Vincent Vanasch is ahead of him in the hierarchy.

Danneberg: “I thought right from the start of the tournament: It would be funny if we played Belgium in the final and Vincent and I then played each other in the shootout.

I played the whole tournament with that thought in mind.” And I won.