Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup: Belgium works its way to gold medal match via English channel
Olympic Silver medalist Belgium qualified for its maiden gold medal round of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. Belgium won the first semifinal thrashing England 6-0 in what turned out to be one-sided game.
Belgium started commanding the game from the start. Excellent man to man marking, zonal marking and superb ball control saw red shirts threatening English defense with some good concerted moves.
The Red shirts not only scored some superb field goals but also slammed in two penalty corners to make it a trumpeting win of all round play.
Attacking tactics paid dividends in the eighth minute when Tom Boon scored the first goal for Belgium. It was the culmination of a good move that started from the left flank and had the English split open.
With nearly three fourth stadium empty, the game witnessed some good hockey. Playing its first ever World Cup semi final, Belgium never loosened its grip on the game. In the 20thminute when it forced its first penalty corner, ace striker Alexander Hendrickx had a powerful swipe at the goal which the English goalkeeper padded. Unmarked Simon Gougnard, who stood near the goalpost, pounced upon the rebound and put it across to make it 2-0.
This goal by Gougnard was perhaps a tribute to his father who died back home in Belgium last night.
After leading 2-0 at the half time, Belgium went on a rampage scoring four goals in the second half. After Cedric Charlier made it 3-0 with a superb field goal in the 42nd minute, drag flicker Alexander Hendrickx struck twice in the 45th and 50th minute to make it 5-0.
Sebastien Dockier slammed the final nail in the coffin of England in the 53rd minute with a fantastic D top strike to complete the tally (6-0).
Man of the Match: Tom Boon