Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Defending champions Belgium surged into the semifinals of the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup after beating New Zealand 2-0 in the second quarterfinal match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.

New Zealand gave a tough challenge to Belgium. However, the Red Lions were hot enough to handle for the Kiwis. They could only manage to reduce the number of goals against them.

While Tom Boon converted a penalty corner in the 10th minute, Van Aubel Florent gave a brilliant field goal in the 15th minute.

Both the goals came in the first quarter. Bolstered by their crossover win against hosts India, Kiwis tried their best to give a tough challenge to the formidable Belgium and managed to limit the goals against them only to a double. Belgium hardly gave any space to the Black Sticks to manoeuvre.

Belgium got only three penalty corner chances in the 10th, 24th and 35th minutes in the game and could convert only one among those. New Zealand also earned equal number of penalty corners in the 28th, 46th and 59th minute. However, they failed to capitalize on any of the scoring chances. Belgium defenders stood like a rock to thwart them from any scoring opportunity.

Kiwi player Woods Nic got a yellow card in the 48th minute. They were reduced to only 10 players during the end part of the game and it increased the pressure on them. In the last and final quarter, they went all out to sound the board, but defenders and custodian of Red Lions were too good for them.