Defending champions Belgium started their FIH Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup 2023 campaign on a positive note by trouncing lower-ranked Korea 5-0 in a Pool B game at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Determined Korea gave a stern reply to the defending champions in the first quarter. However, Belgium came back strongly in the next quarter and earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 19th minute, but Korea defenders were agile enough to thwart both the scoring opportunities. The first half went goalless despite some ruthless attack by Belgium.
Belgium upped the ante at the start of the second half. They earned back to back penalty corners again in the 30th minute. They grabbed the opportunity in both the hands as Hendrickx Alexander converted it into a goal and broke the deadlock in the process.
They continued with the surge and created three back-to-back penalty corner opportunities three minutes later, but Korea custodian Kim Jaehan stood like the Rock of Gibraltar behind the goalpost to prevent further damage.
Korea retaliated back strongly and earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 35th minute. They were rewarded with another penalty corner just a minute later only to be prevented by a resolute defence of the opposition. Korea earned their fourth penalty corner in the 39th minute, but couldn't capitalise on the opportunity.
Belgium came back strongly and was opportunistic enough to double their lead in the 42nd minute by a brilliant field goal from Cosyns Tanguy.
Korea showed their tremendous fight-back spirit to create their fifth penalty corner chance in the 44th minute, but failed to pierce the net against the agile defenders of Belgium.
The Red Lions increased their lead to 3-0 by converting a penalty corner through Van Aubel Florent in the 49th minute. Their rampaging run continued in the fourth and the final quarter with Dockier Sébastien striking a scintillating field goal with a fierce hit from the left flank of the goal post in the 51st minute to make it 4-0. De Sloover Arthur scored another brilliant field goal in the 57th minute to seal the fate of the match 5-0 in their favour.
Germany beat Japan
Germany defeated Japan 3-0 in another Pool B match of the FIH Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup 2023 at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Lower-ranked Japan fought well against a formidable German side and as a result the first half went goalless. However, the experienced Germans came back strongly to score two goals in the third quarter.
While Grambusch Mats converted a penalty corner in the 35th minute, Rühr Christopher found the back of the net through a fierce hit in the 40th minute to double the lead for them.
They continued with the momentum in the fourth quarter as well. Prinz Thies scored a brilliant field goal by hitting from the right flank of the post to increase the lead to 3-0 in the 48th minute of the match. Germany created couple of more opportunities. However, they were thwarted by Japan defenders.