Olympic silver medallist Belgium’s quest for a maiden men’s World Cup title started with a fighting 2-1 win over minnows Canada in the opening match of the opening match of the hockey’s showpiece event here on Wednesday.
Ranked third in the world, Belgium started as overwhelming favorites against world No. 11 Canada in the Pool ‘C’ opener but they looked far from impressive.
Even though Belgium controlled the proceedings in the first two quarters by showcasing fastpaced attacking hockey, they lacked the sting after the change of ends.
The Red Lions sounded the board as early as in the third minute through a fine field strike by Felix Denayer.
In the 12th minute, captain Thomas Briels scored again for Belgium but the goal was disallowed after Canada went for the referral, claiming the ball hit his hand before rolling into the goal.
But Briles was not to be denied in the 22nd minute as he scored with a brilliant strike after he was set up by Arthur van Doren.
Belgium completely dominated the first two quarters as Canada hardly managed to get a shot at the opposition goal.
But the script changed to some extent after the halftime as Canada started to find their grip on the match. They fought brilliantly to pull a goal back through Mark Pearson’s penalty corner conversion in the 48th minute.
After a bright start, it was a lackluster performance from the Belgians in the last two quarters as they allowed Canada back into the match.
From Online Sources