Harpal Singh Bedi in Bhubaneswar
Displaying a surgical precision, Olympic silver medallist Belgium annihilated England 6-0 to make their maiden entry into the final of the Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium here today.
The previous big semi-final win in the World cup was in 1982 with Pakistan beating the Netherlands 8-2 at Mumbai . This was England’s third consecutive loss in the World Cup semi finals
Playing in their sixth world cup, their best being 5th in the 2014, Belgium virtually whitewashed their rivals turning the first semi final into a one sided affair.
England ,who went through torturous journey on their way to semi-final, capped their campaign with a humiliation which will rankle them for a long time.
For Belgium , who led 2-0 at half time, the goal scorers were Tom Boon (8th) Simon Gougnard (19th) Cedric Charlier (42nd) Alexander Hendrickx (45th,50th) Sébastien Dockier (53rd)..
It was perhaps one of most lop sided semi finals in the recent history of the World in which Belgium dictated the proceedings from the very start and England were reduced to be mere spectators.
The Red Sticks opened the game on aggressive note and surprisingly England went on the defensive and never were able to come out from that mode till the end.
Though Belgium, the way they progressed in this tournament, were tipped as favourite but no body expected the match too be so one sided.
Belgium surged ahead in the 8th minute Victor Wegnez relayed the ball to Florent van Aubel on the left, who set up Tom Boon and he made no mistake in sending the ball home.
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) December 15, 2018
Just before the close of the first quarter Loick Luypaert’s created an opening for Boon, whose shot just missed the goal post.
Four minutes into the second quarter , Begium earned their first penalty corner and Simon Gougnard off a rebound dispatched the ball into the cage to make it 2-0.
England looked clueless as there strikers failed to create opening and their flanks looked paralyised. Belgium dictated the proceedings reducing their rivals to mere novices..They controlled possession, passed around the England players without being effectively challenged.
Against the run of play England earned a penalty corner. Adam Dixon’s shot was cleared by the onrushing defenders. England tried to shake off the pressure .They tried to pass their way out from the back but Belgium foiled their efforts .
Belgium launched a furious counter and this time Cedric Charlier intercepted a cross ,dribbled past two England players and thumped the ball low and into the bottom corner.(3-0)and the Red sticks got closer to a first World Cup final.
A feeble counter by England got them another Penalty corner, but Barry Middleton attempt was foiled by the goal keeper Vincent Vanasch . The Belgium made brilliant counter. but ended with Gauthier Boccard shooting just wide of the goal.
Just at the third of the third quarter Belgium was rewarded with a penalty corner and Alexander Hendrix with a beautiful drag, sent ball into the goal between the left post and the keeper.
Hendrix scoreds again in the 50th minute to make it 5-0 and seven minutes before the final whistle Belgium scored when Sebastien Dockier scored a stunning goa to complete the rout.
How are you doing with your fantasy game? @Dream11 MVP from game 32 at Odisha #HWC2018 Bhubaneswar Belgium's Alexander Hendrickx 🇧🇪 ⭐
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Get ready for today's action & make your fantasy team – https://t.co/FxMLQA9PAJ pic.twitter.com/L9n2zp1GMo
— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) December 15, 2018