Hockey World Cup 2018: India vs Belgium – 3 Standout Players from the match
The stage was set for the Indian team in their second match at the 2018 Hockey World Cup. A 15000 strong and vociferous crowd at the Kalinga Stadium at Bhubaneswar were supporting their hearts out for the host country. The job for the Indian team was to go out and make the occasion memorable.
India did perform better, but it was not enough for them to come out with a win, as they conceded a late goal to draw with Belgium in their most important match of Pool C of the Hockey World Cup on Sunday.
The task was tough for the Indian team. Belgium are ranked third in the world and they have a very fast and young team which can challenge any opposition on any given day. On the other hand, the Harendra Singh coached team were coming with confidence after a 5-0 win over South Africa.
The game was divided into two halves. Belgium dominated in the first half entirely, keeping the ball most of the time and eventually scoring a goal. India looked clueless and probably out of plan.
The hosts came back emphatically in the second half and scored two goals in the third quarter to take the lead. Despite being ahead, India kept on attacking and in the process conceded a goal four minutes before the end of the match.
Alexander Hendricx put Belgium ahead from the second penalty corner of the match. There was too much power in the shot and the ball went inside Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh’s legs.
Belgium kept on attacking in search for another goal but the resolute Indian defence stood firm and not committed a mistake.
India came out in the second half with a different approach and aggression. They started attacking on Belgium’s goalmouth quite often. India got two back to back penalty corners and though they failed to convert, it earned a penalty kick. Harmanpreet Singh duly converted from the spot. A super play from Kothajit Singh saw India taking the lead through Simranjeet Singh.
India conceded a late goal against Belgium in the Rio Olympics to lose the match. The problem continued to haunt them again when Simon Gougnard scored from a superb shot.
India will next face Canada in their last Pool C match on Saturday and have a realistic chance to go straight to the quarter-final.
Let us look at the three standout players from the match.
#3 Cedric Charlier
Though he failed to get his name on the score sheet, Cedric Charlier was the most threatening player on India’s half. Most of attacks were centred on him. He has some brilliant skills and often amazed Indian defenders with that.
Charlier is an experienced campaigner for his team and falls in the category of some of the famous players who played the sport for Belgium. He has 29 goals from 115 matches and nearly added one more against India.