Defending champions Belgium advanced into the semifinals of the ongoing FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup after overpowering New Zealand 2-0 in the second quarterfinal match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.
Belgium faced a formidable challenge from New Zealand. Van Aubel Florent made a spectacular field goal in the 15th minute, while Tom Boon converted a penalty corner in the 10th. Both goals were scored in the opening period. The Kiwis did their best to give the formidable Belgium a serious battle after their crossover victory over the hosts India, but they were only able to limit the goals scored against them to two. The Black Sticks were hardly given any room to manoeuvre by Belgium.
Only one of Belgium’s three penalty corner opportunities–which came in the game’s 10th, 24th, and 35th minutes–was successful. New Zealand were awarded a similar amount of penalty corners in the 28th, 46th and 59th minutes. They missed all of their opportunities to score. A rock-solid defence from Belgium prevented them from having any scoring chances.
In the 48th minute, Kiwi captain Woods Nic was shown a yellow card. During the game’s final phase, they were down to just 10 players, which put further pressure on them. They made every effort to win in the fourth and final quarter, but the Red Lions’ defenders and custodians proved to be too strong for them. With solid defending techniques, Belgium rolled into the semifinals and went one step closer to defending their title crown.