Belgium and Canada ushered in the 14th edition of the FIH Hockey World Cup by playing out an enthralling match in front of a packed arena at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubhaneswar.
The third-ranked Belgium team initially flexed their muscles and appeared to be dominating the game. However, they lost their grip during the end of third quarter and the start of fourth quarter. Eventually, the Red Lions hung on to clinch a narrow 2-1 victory.
Felix Denayer opened the scoring for Belgium with a neat deflection in the early stages of the first quarter. Captain Thomas Briels doubled the lead by hammering a stunning goal in the second quarter. After reverting pressure on the Red Lions, Mark Pearson reaped the rewards and pulled one back for Canada. But the goal did not end up influencing the end result.
Here are three reasons why Belgium won the riveting encounter against Canada.
#3 Relentless attack right from the start
Right from the moment when the match began, Belgium asserted their attacking will on the Canadian players.
Being the favourites for this clash, the Red Lions could have easily adopted a cautious approach in the starting minutes of the game. But they showed no signs of any big stage nerves and immediately put Canada under immense pressure.
As soon as they got possession, the Belgians pushed men forward and ran rings around the Canadian back line. Some of their passes were top-notch.
Arthur van Doren orchestrated the opening goal by piercing the defence with an astoundingly accurate pass.
Upon getting into an advantageous position, all Felix Denayer had to do was to deflect the ball into the back of the net. Belgium were 1-0 up in the third minute of the match.