Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], Dec 11 (ANI): Belgium defeated Pakistan 5-0 in their crossover match to make it to the quarter-final of the ongoing men's Hockey World Cup here at the Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday.
Hoping to recover from a forgettable World Cup campaign that they had so far, Pakistan could not come out with something special on the day to stay alive in the tournament. With 60 per cent pass accuracy as compared to Belgium's 72 per cent in the first quarter, Pakistani players lacked sharpness in the match.
Belgium, who played aggressive hockey throughout the first quarter, got their first breakthrough in the tenth minute of the match when they scored their first goal off a penalty corner. Alexander Hendrickx hit a low smash into Pakistan's bottom left corner which could not be saved by opposition goalkeeper Imran Butt.
In the very next minute, Belgium attacked again to add one more goal to their kitty. Belgian skipper Thomas Briels dribbled the ball around Pakistan's defenders and smashed it into the goal from an acute angle. Poor defending technique cost Pakistan dearly.
Pakistan improved their performance in the second quarter with better circle penetration and pass accuracy percentage. Consequently, they got their first penalty corner of the match in the 16th minute but the opportunity was missed as Belgian defenders did a great job inside the circle.
To add on to Pakistan's woes, Belgium scored another goal to take their lead to 3-0 in the match. Cedric Charlier takes a shot and it deflects off Ammad Butt and creeps into the goal. Imran Butt could barely react before the deflection went past him.
It seemed difficult for Pakistani players to get past Belgium's strong defense line. In the 35th minute of the match, Belgium got their fourth goal of the match when Sebastien Dockier teamed up with Simon Gougnard to score for their side.
The match was slipping out of Pakistan's hands and the tension was very much visible on the field. An attacking strategy till the final minute of the match turned out to be fruitful for the Belgian side as they smashed one more goal in the 53rd minute.
Belgium won a penalty stroke and Tom Boon made no mistake to score his first goal of the tournament. The final scoreline read 5-0 in Belgium's favour.
With the win, Belgium have become the seventh nation to qualify for the quarter-final round of the Hockey World Cup. They will now take on Germany in their quarters clash to cement their place in the last four of the tournament. (ANI)