INDIA: Belgium defeated Japan 7-1 at the Birsa Munda International Stadium on Friday in its final Pool B World Cup match to set the stage for the knockout rounds.
Belgium vs Japan
The Red Lions lead the group with seven points, and Germany, which is in second place and plays South Korea in the evening’s final game, needs to win by nine goals to move ahead of them.
With their quick passing and penetration play, the defending champions displayed an example of attacking hockey.
Alexander Hendrickx, a drag flick specialist, injured himself in the sixth minute of the game during a penalty corner attempt when he followed through and twisted his right knee.
Despite not winning any of its seven penalty corners, Belgium displayed its offensive prowess with six field goals.
At the end of the first quarter, Cedric Charlier came close to scoring, but Takashi Yoshikawa stopped him twice from close range.
Belgium’s possession and perseverance paid off in the second quarter with four goals. After Charlier turned away from two defenders inside the circle, Yoshikawa could not stop the forward’s powerful shot.
In a display of his finishing instincts, Tom Boon put Japan on the back foot with a hat trick in six minutes. First, he reverse-fished the ball high into the net after using his strength to get past two defenders. After that, he used a missed clearance to score his second goal and skilfully deflected Sebastien Dockier’s shot to score his third.
Japan created some promising situations in the Belgian half in the first 30 minutes, but Kentaro Fukuda failed to capitalize on his three chances. Fukuda was let loose by a turnover in Belgium’s defense, but Vincent Vanasch was able to block his weak attempt.
In the second half, Japan coach Akira Takahashi kept Belgium quiet in the third quarter with a more robust defense.
Japan started the fourth quarter with a goal thanks to Fukuda, who got a touch to redirect Seren Tanaka’s backhanded effort.
Japan continued to press the attack with the crowd’s support, but Belgium scored twice against the run of play through Boon and Dockier.
Boon was involved in a quick interchange in play from the right side to release Dockier, who scored emphatically on the slide after Boon turned the face of his stick to guide Florent van Aubel’s pass.
After winning a penalty stroke, Boon scored his fifth and Belgium’s seventh goal to cap off the night.
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