Hockey World Cup 2018, Belgium vs South Africa: 3 Standout Players from the match
Contrary to prevailing pre-match expectations, South Africa began in stunning fashion by scoring a goal at a matter of seconds into the game.
Nicholas Spooner's first-minute strike might have caught them by surprise but Belgium demonstrated their tenacity with a power-packed performance in the subsequent 59 minutes.
In what was a crucial Pool C game in the 2018 Hockey World Cup, Belgium eroded India's advantage of goal difference with a scintillating 5-1 victory against South Africa at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Adopting a high press game, Belgium earned three penalty corners in the first half. Remarkably, they converted all of those into goals.
Simon Gougnard and Cedric Charlier chipped in with sublime field goals to extend the Red Lions' ascendancy.
Here are the three standout players from Belgium's clinical triumph against South Africa.
#3 Nicholas Spooner (South Africa)
In such a one-sided scoreline, one must be wondering how a South African player managed to slip into this list by displacing a Belgian.
However, Nicholas Spooner not only scored the sublime opening goal but also battled valiantly against the rampaging Red Lions.
Latching on to a long pass from the midfield, Spooner found himself in considerable empty space as only one defender as well as Vincent Vanasch stood in his vicinity.
The 27-year old went with the flow and unleashed a powerful shot as soon as he entered into the inner circle. The fact that he managed to beat such an accomplished goal-keeper stood as a testament to the ferocity and accuracy of his strike.
After scoring a rare World Cup goal for South Africa, Spooner impressed with his commitment to cover enormous distance on the field.
One such example came at the end of the second quarter when he dived full stretch on the turf to prevent a dangerous pass from Arthur van Doren reaching the lurking attacker. From attack to defence, the South African gave a glimpse of his versatile prowess.