Hockey World Cup 2018, Belgium vs Canada: 3 standout players from the match
The 14th edition of the Men's Hockey World Cup kicked off in style as Rio Olympics silver medallists Belgium got their campaign off to a bright start with a 2-1 win over Canada in the opening game of the tournament at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubhaneshwar, Odisha.
The Red Lions got off to a fairytale start as an unmarked Felix Denayer's pin-point deflection found the back of the net as early as the third minute which gave the Belgians some early momentum in the competition.
A few minutes later, Tom Boon's scoop found Thomas Briels as the skipper celebrated a goal only to see it reversed by the umpire.
Soon enough, halfway through the second quarter, Arthur van Doren's rocket ripped across the turf as Briels positioned himself and turned it in to pile more misery on Canada.
The Canadians themselves failed to convert possibly their only chance in the two quarters as they went into the half-time break with a two-goal deficit demanding more from the North Americans.
The Belgians started the second half as they coated their play with a lot of aggression and pressed hard to create a couple of penalty corners, which could not be converted.
Canada's only saving grace in the third quarter was custodian Antoni Kindler, who thwarted an attempt on goal, which was then swept away by a slide from skipper Scott Tupper.
Having defended enough to keep Belgium from scoring in the third quarter, Canada opened up their account as Mark Pearson made the most of a half-hearted save from the Belgian backline to drive home an important goal that set off the celebrations in the Canadian camp.
With less than six minutes left on the clock, Charlier's pacy strike ricocheted off the post while a diving attempt from Matthew Sarmento to level scores climbed over the post. A couple of penalty corners for Belgium in the dying minutes went begging as Shane McLeod's side finished with a positive, yet unconvincing win to start the campaign.
Here are the three standout players from this game -
#1 Arthur van Doren (Belgium)
The 24-year old brought out his pace on the turf as his attacking style of play created a host of opportunities for the Belgians and was also the architect for both of the Red Lions' goals in the game.
Van Doren opened up a scoring opportunity early in the game as he sent out a scorcher through the turf as Felix Denayer found the back of the net with a simple flick of his stick.
In the second quarter, Van Doren was yet again in the thick of things as he found skipper Thomas Briels with a clever through ball which Briels turned in to pile the pressure on the Canadians. In the end, for his vital assists, Van Doren received the 'Man of the Match' award.