Contrary to pre-match expectations for a close encounter, Belgium ran riot and pummeled Spain by a 5-0 margin in the third match of Pool A in the 2017 edition of the FIH Hockey World League Final held at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Right from the start, Belgium came out all guns blazing. They found the goalpost in the third minute when Florent Van Aubel pounced on a smart pass. From then on, it was one-way traffic as Spain could never really recover from the early mishap.
During the rest of the first quarter and the second quarter, they tried to keep the Belgian attack at bay and succeeded to a certain extent. However, the wheels came off during the third quarter.
Right from the start of the second half, the silver medalists from 2016 Rio Olympics were on a roll. They crushed any resistance from Spain and converted almost three of the five penalty corners available to them into solid goals. Striker Loick Luypaert was the star of the match. He completed a hat-trick of goals, with his last one coming from a smart penalty stroke.
Apart from Van Aubel and Luypaert, Cedric Charlier was another Belgian player who made the cut past the Spanish defence. He added another goal in the 58th minute to compound the opponent's woes. By the time the final hooter sounded, the scorecard did not make for pretty reading as far as Spain were concerned. The only part that went against the Belgians was in the 43rd minute when Dorian Thiery was shown a yellow card for displaying an excessively agressive behavior.
With the emphatic victory, the Belgians are now at the top of Pool A and have got themselves into prime form ahead of the quarterfinals. They will now meet Netherlands in their final group match on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Spain will have their task cut out as they now have to fight it out with Argentina in the other game.Published 04 Dec 2017, 00:16 IST