The Men's Hockey World Cup 2018 has one thing written clearly on the wall - this is no drab affair. Even if the result is one side, like in cases of Netherlands and India in the f, the hockey on display is nothing less than enthralling.
As such, the World Cup gave another interesting round of matches on Sunday, when the second leg of Pool C Matches went underway. Canada and South Africa weren't expected to enthrall the crowd much, but even they mesmerized the audience with their stickwork.
Even though the match turned out to be a draw, Canada won the audience's hearts with their intense attacks, and their never say die attitude, while keeping their hopes alive for progress into the next round of the World Cup.
However, the match that followed was the one every spectator at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar was eagerly waiting for. This was the match between hosts India and Olympic silver medalists Belgium. Excitement for this match was such that it was sold out weeks before the match actually even started.
As promised, the match actually turned out to be an edge of the seat thriller. While Belgium was unequivocal in its attack against India, earning a penalty corner within minutes of the beginning of the match, India had to struggle initially before drag-flicker Varun Kumar came to the rescue.
Had it not been for the classic Indian problem of conceding a goal within the dying minutes of the match, India was on the verge of another historic win in the current edition of the World Cup.
Still, the thrilling draw proved to be a blessing in disguise for India, as they just need a simple victory with a clean slate against Canada in order to progress towards the quarterfinals. Following are some of the interesting points about the match between India and Belgium.
#5 Belgium attack from the word 'Go!'
Seething in fury after having to sweat out against a rather weak Canada, Belgium went on the attacking mode from the very first whistle of the match.
Playing in the classic European style, The Red Lions gave a literal nightmare to both the home team as well as the Bhubaneswar crowd, earning a penalty corner within the first minute itself.
Had it not been for the heroics of our goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, Belgium could've earned a goal within the first minute itself.
However, he couldn't avoid their antics for long, and Belgium earned another penalty corner in the eighth minute, and this time, drag-flicker Alexander Hendricxx made no mistake, converting the penalty corner into a brilliant goal for Belgium.
Throughout the first quarter, Belgium dominated over India with ease. From short passes, to circle penetrations, they got everything on the right note. When we reached halftime, India were a goal behind Belgium.