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World Cup Hockey 2018 Highlights: India Plays Out a Draw with Belgium to Stay on Top of Pool C

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This thrilling 2-2 draw match between India and Belgium was a sheer display of the most exciting and brilliant hockey in the tournament so far.

Team India started their World Cup campaign with a magnificent win against South Africa and was optimistic enough of clearing a stern test on Sunday in the form of world number three Belgium. This would have given them a direct entry into the quarter-finals.

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But the match ended with a thrilling 2-2 draw between India and Belgium. With this, both India and Belgium stayed at four points but India still topped the group on the basis of a better goal difference.

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From India’s side, it was Harmanpreet Singh and Simranjeet Singh who roared with two goals. Belgium had Alexander Hendrickx and Simon Gougnard for staying in hunt of a direct quarter-final berth.

How it Happened

Belgium throughout controlled the first half of the match with some really smart hockey and India was quite loose. India was losing possession over and over again and failed to grab their chances.

In the early 8th minute, Belgium’s Alexander Hendrickx scored their first goal in the form of a penalty corner.

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Prior to this penalty corner, they had two more opportunities from the same position and they got third-time lucky.

But India gave a good account of themselves after going a goal down by trying to attack more and more but their inability to take it deep and be patient cost them.

India had two big opportunities in the first half through Mandeep Singh and Dilpreet Singh that they failed to capitalize.

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Mandeep Singh was at the goalmouth with a perfect opportunity to score a shot. Also, in the second quarter of the match, Dilpreet Singh did make a move by deciding to goal himself, even when Lalit Upadhyay was in a far better position to score a goal.

Coach Harendra Singh said at halftime, “We [India] are going to wide to attack that’s the problem, we have to take control of the centre”,  and that is what India did once the second half whistle blew.

The second half was for Indians. They began attacking the Belgian side and pressurized them that they began opening opportunities to India in the 39th minute. And in the 39th minute of the match, Harmanpreet Singh scored off a penalty stroke for a powerful comeback in the match.

India displayed some inspiring play by gaining three penalty corners, one penalty stroke and another goal, finally, that showed they were on in the game.

In the 47th minute, Kothajit played some brilliant hockey on the baseline to set up Simranjeet’s goal. The youngster showed immense patience to hold his ground, wait for the ball and slotted it home to give India the lead.

Even as India had the upper hand, four minutes from time, Belgium equalized through a goal from Simon Gougnard.

With this draw, now both the teams have gained 4 points, but India managed to be at the top of Pool C.

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Bhawna Kothari
Bhawna Kothari
Lover of cultures, varied colors, and underdogs, Bhawna is a by-heart and professional playwright. Hailing from a journalism & communication background, she incorporates a careful study at both flips of the coin which is essentially required to be analytical in thoughts and words. Actively abreast of the current affairs around the globe, she likes knowing and bringing into light the unexplored. Problem solving via the power of content is what inspires her and hence KreedOn, a platform created for the betterment of sports ecosystem in India, is now her happy workplace!


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