Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan

Bhubaneswar: Top four teams of the world Australia, Belgium, England and Netherlands will lock horns with each other to book a place in the finals of the on-going Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here today.

While Belgium will take on England in the first semi-final, Australia will face the Netherlands in the second match to be played at Kalinga Stadium today.

Olympic silver medallist in 2016, Belgium ranks 3rd and has won the 2017 Euro Nations Championship. On the other hand, team England is currently ranked 7th in the world and it would be eyeing to enter the final.

“This is the first time in the history of Belgium hockey that we reached the semi-final. We worked really hard for the world cup but this is not the end,” Belgium captain Thomas Briels said.

Briels further added, “We want to be in the final and hopefully bring the World Cup home. We have to analyse the game very well and be ready against England.”

Defending champions Australia will lock horns with the Netherlands to make their way to the finals in the second semi-final match of the day.

Team Australia would be eyeing to enter their third consecutive final whereas the Dutch team is brimming in with confidence after beating team India in the quarterfinals.

“Netherlands have a rich history in hockey and we are really looking forward to the match. They had a great game against India in the quarterfinals and we are prepared for them.” Captain of Australian team Aran Zalewski said.

The Dutch have a strong midfield, defence and we have to nullify their attack and score goals as well,” added Zalewski.