After being pipped to the post by India's vastly superior goal difference in the group stage, Belgium stormed to a 5-0 victory against Pakistan and booked a place in the quarterfinals.
The third Crossover game in the 2018 Hockey World Cup began interestingly as Pakistan dominated possession. However, their inability to make meaningful circle penetrations played into Belgium's hands.
Whenever they had the ball, the Belgian players stitched numerous productive passes and applied persistent pressure on the Green Shirts. Alexander Hendrickx's fourth goal of the tournament lifted the Red Lions to an early lead in the first quarter. Skipper Thomas Briels made it 2-0 on the back of an outstanding assist.
Belgium progressed to a 3-0 lead in the second quarter when Cedric Charlier's powerful strike ricocheted off Pakistan's stand-in captain Ammad Shakeel Butt. Sebastien Dockier's smooth finish made it 4-0 in the third quarter. During the final quarter, Tom Boon scored from the spot to complete a resounding performance from the Red Lions.
Here are the three standout players from Belgium's clinical 5-0 triumph against Pakistan in the third Crossover match.
#3 Alexander Hendrickx (Belgium)
Picking up from he left off in their final group game against South Africa, Alexander Hendrickx converted a penalty corner in the tenth minute and propelled Belgium to an early lead in the crucial encounter.
However, as the game progressed, Hendrickx's drag-flicking skills deteriorated considerably. After scoring from his initial opportunity in the first quarter, the 25-year-old missed out on two penalty-corner chances during the third quarter. But he redeemed himself in the final quarter by earning a penalty stroke for his team.
Aside from his exploits with the drag-flick, Hendrickx's defensive prowess continued to be strong right throughout the match. His admirable anticipation helped the Red Lions intercept quite a few dangerous passes from the Pakistani midfielders.
With his successful drag-flick in the opening quarter, Hendrickx has now taken his tally to four goals in the tournament thus far. He is tied with Argentina's top drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat for the second spot. Australia's Blake Govers leads the charts with five goals.