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Friday, January 27, 2023

FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup: Defending Champions Belgium Defeat New Zealand 2-0

Belgium will either face Korea or the Netherlands in the semi-finals

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

INDIA: Belgium secured their place in the semi-finals and ended New Zealand’s hopes of making their first appearance in the last four of the World Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Kiwis in the second quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Despite missing numerous shots on goal, the defending champion never appeared to be struggling and maintained control throughout most of the game. 

Belgium could have won more if they hadn’t hit wide off the goalpost frequently. On the other hand, New Zealand only managed a few half-chances that never appeared to be dangerous.

The first time Belgium attempted to score was in the second minute, but captain Felix Denayer could not connect in front of the goal.

After a few minutes, the Belgian forwards appeared to be in a rush to score, but Tom Boon missed with a backhander. In the 11th minute, Boon successfully converted a penalty corner, finally putting his team ahead.

Belgium immediately doubled its lead with a beautifully coordinated move that began with Nicolas de Kerpel putting Simon Gougnard through. 

Gougnard passed the ball back to Florent van Aubel with an on-the-run touch from close to the backline, and the latter deflected it into the goalpost. 

The Black Sticks attempted to come back, but it was clear that the Belgians had done their homework and learned from India’s mistakes against the same opponent two days earlier.

Belgium didn’t let New Zealand have any room in the midfield, kept up the pressure when they were up 2-0, pressed hard for possession, and stopped any early counterattacks. 

The Belgian defence held New Zealand to the 25-yard line at the back, preventing them from entering the circle. 

The Belgian defenders were always a step ahead to intercept, so their rivals kept scurrying through both flanks to create penalty corners, at least. However, they were only able to manage one throughout the entire game.

The second half was calmer, but New Zealand barely got close to the Belgian goal. 

Belgium prevailed despite being unable to score more goals. It will now play the winner of the match between Korea and the Netherlands in the tournament’s final quarterfinal on Wednesday evening in the semi-finals.

Also Read: FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup: Australia Defeats Spain 4-3 in First Quarterfinal

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