Belgium are back on top of the hockey world rankings ©FIH

Belgium took the shoot-out bonus point against Australia as the latest fixtures in the men's International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro League got underway.

At Sydney's Olympic Park, a close-range volley from Thomas Briels put Belgium ahead in the 18th minute, but the hosts hit back with Jeremy Hayward's effort from a penalty corner and a penalty stroke from Tom Craig giving the 2019 Pro League champions a 2-1 lead. 

But a late deflection from Belgium's Felix Denayer pulled the scores level at 2-2, forcing a shoot-out. 

Successful conversions from Florent van Aubel, Simon Gougnard, Victor Wegnez and Arthur van Doren gave the current world champions a 4-2 shoot-out win and pushed them back to number one in the world.

"It was not easy to start in Australia, the number one in the world against the number two, but I think we put on a good game and I think the crowd saw some good actions," Belgium's Nicolas de Kerpel, who was named player of the match, said. 

Australia's Matt Dawson's commented: "We always knew it was going to be tough out here, and it's come down to the last two minutes of the game.

"It's disappointing to lose, but it is something we can build on."

The teams play again tomorrow.

In the second game of the day, Spain failed to back-up their valiant 2-2 draw with Germany in Valencia yesterday, losing 5-1 at Estadio Betero.

Christopher Rühr gave Germany the lead on 13 minutes, with Timur Oruz doubling the advantage. 

A strike from Marc Miralles proved to be a false dawn for Spain, with goals from Marco Miltkau, Lukas Windfeder and Constantin Staib rounding out the convincing victory.

"We played a great defence and a good attacking game - we played as a team, we defended as a team," player of the match Marco Miltkau of Germany said. 

"And our counter-attacks were very good - that was an improvement on yesterday's performance."