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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Tokyo 2020: Belgium beat India 5-2 in hockey semifinal

The Indian men's hockey team will compete for bronze medal now.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: August 3, 2021 2:34:16 pm
IND v BEL, India vs BelgiumIndia's goals came from the sticks of Harmanpreet Singh (7th) and Mandeep Singh (8th). (AP)

Belgium turned the tables in the last quarter to beat India 5-2 in semifinals and book their final spot. The scoreline does not reflect India’s fight in the first three quarters and the men in blue deserve credit to reach the semifinals after 49 years and play like that. India punched above their weight to reach the semifinal. They have a long, long way to go to match the world’s best.

Alexander Hendricx scored a hattrick for the winners including one converting a penalty stroke.Indians’ dream of a ninth gold medal in hockey was crushed but they can still return home with a bronze medal. The Indians were completely outplayed in the last 10 minutes of the match after both the rivals remained deadlocked at halftime and in the third quarter at two-all.

Indians were error-prone in tackle and conceded a series of penalty corners. Hendrickx  managed to score an equaliser for Belgium in the 19th-minute penalty corner. Victory margin apart, the match began on equal footing.

India’s last appearance in the final of the Olympics came way back in 1980 Moscow Games, where they went on to win their last of the eight gold medals. The Indians had only themselves to blame for Tuesday’s disappointment as Belgium’s all four goals came from penalty corners.

The Indian defence was put under relentless pressure by the Belgians as they secured as many as 14 penalty corners out of which they converted four. Belgium’s game plan was clear from the onset as they tried to enter the Indian circle and earn penalty corners with Hendrickx and Luypaert in their ranks.

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