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Belgium blank Netherlands, face India in quarterfinals

The Tribune 2017-12-06 02:02:00

Belgium eased past European champions Netherlands to send a stern warning to India before their quarterfinal clash on Wednesday. In-form Loick Luypaert scored two penalty corner goals, while Tom Boon converted one as the Olympics silver medallists won 3-0 to top Pool A and set up a quarterfinal clash with Pool B laggards India. The hosts have had a horrible tournament so far, losing two and drawing one match. Belgium, on the other hand, have won all three. Belgium beat Olympics champions Argentina 3-2 before hammering Spain 5-0 in their second match. The form Belgium are in, it doesn’t look too good for India. But whatever the results in the pool stage, India cannot be counted out in a knockout game. Three years ago, India met Belgium at the same stage in the Champions Trophy at the same ground. India had had a terrible tournament till that match as well. After falling behind 0-2, India had rallied to beat Belgium 4-2. In the 2015 Hockey World League Final in Raipur, India won the bronze medal despite finishing last in their pool. But India have not looked like a winning team so far. Apart from brief periods of fighting display, India have been abject on the turf. They will have to improve their game by a great deal if they wish to pose a challenge to Belgium. The Red Lions’ performance against archrivals Netherlands on Tuesday doesn’t only make them the favourites against India but also the overall favourites. India coach Sjoerd Marijne said while India have a lot of respect for the Belgians, they believe they can win. “If you want to win tournaments, you have to face them all,” said Marijne. “Belgium is a very strong team and we have a lot of respect for them. The players believe we can win. We hope to make a bright start. It’s a match where the winner takes it all. It’s a match against a great opponent.” 
Spain came back from being a goal down to beat Argentina 2-1. This is the Olympics champions’ second defeat of the tournament and they have drawn the third.  Results
  • Spain 2-1 Argentina
  • Belgium 3-0 Netherlands

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