Hockey WC: Belgium beat Canada 2-1 in inaugural clash

Bhubaneswar: Belgium made a winning start to their campaign at the ongoing 14th edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup after defeating Canada 2-1 in the opening Pool C match here at the Kalinga stadium on Wednesday.

The Belgian side made their intentions clear in the first quarter as they scored their first goal in the third minute of the match. A ferocious flick from striker Tom Boon was deflected beautifully by midfielder player Felix Denayer which resulted in the first goal for the Belgian side.

The leading side continued to play an attacking game as Canada could not get the possession of the ball. They, however, got a free hit by the end of the quarter but could not capitalise on the same.

Canada, who were aiming to build their momentum at the start of the second quarter, got another jolt as Belgian skipper Thomas Briels scored another goal for his side on a penalty corner. Despite trying hard, the Canadian side could not manage to deceive the strong defense wall of their opponents as they continuously failed to penetrate into their circle.

At the half-time, Belgium was leading 2-0 in the match.

The third quarter did not bring any respite to the Canadian side, either as their dominant-looking opponent won two back-to-back penalty corners in the match. The Belgian side, however, failed to capitalise on them as Canadian goalkeeper Antoni Kindler kept the attacking drag flicks out of the goal post area.

The one-sided looking match suddenly spiced up with Canadian midfielder Mark Pearson scoring the first goal for his side. The trailing side, in the final minutes of the match, made repeated attacks on the opposition’s goal post. Canada’s forward player Matthew Sarmento lurked near the goal post but he did not manage to get a good angle to finish from close range after slicing Belgium’s defence open with three passes.

Making a comeback, Belgium won back-to-back penalty corners but it was the Canadian goalkeeper again who came with a double save to keep the scoreline at bay. The match ended with the final score reading 2-1 in Belgium’s favour.

Later today, India will take on South Africa in the second Pool C match.