The Belgian men’s national hockey team (FIH 2) qualified for the semi-finals of the Hockey World Cup in India on Tuesday. At Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, the Red Lions beat New Zealand (FIH 11) 2-0 (half-time: 2-0) in the quarter-finals.
In the last four, the defending champions will face the winner of the match between the Netherlands and South Korea. On the other side of the table, world number one Australia are the first semi-finalists. They will face England or Germany in the last four.
After a first half in which the Belgians were constantly in control, they were allowed into the break with the score at 2-0. The Red Lions’ goals were well spread over both quarters. After ten minutes, top scorer Tom Boon – in the absence of the injured Alexander Hendrickx – had opened the scoring from the penalty spot and it was a good goal for the Belgians, who had not been very precise on the stagnant phases of the group stage. The second quarter had barely started when Florent Van Aubel already brought the score to 2-0. Then both countries missed a penalty corner and the Belgians also missed a few chances which could have led to a higher score. Despite the dominance, the 2-0 scoreline did not guarantee victory.
He didn’t come in the third quarter either. The Belgians went for the redeeming third goal, but Tom Boon missed a penalty corner, and De Kerpel and Charlier were also unable to get past the New Zealand keeper. In a New Zealand escape via Ross, goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch had to save the furniture. In the final quarter, however, the clock ticked mercilessly against the New Zealanders, who pressed hard but ultimately failed to score.
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