Olympic silver medallist Belgium created history by making their maiden appearance in the men’s hockey World Cup summit clash, thrashing England 6-0 in a lopsided first semi-final here Saturday.
Alexander Hendrickx (45th, 50th minutes) converted two penalty corners, while Tom Boon (8th), Simon Gougnard (19th), Cedric Charlier (42nd) and Sebastien Dockier (53rd) were the other goal scorers for the world number three at the Kalinga Stadium.
— The DragFlick™ (@thedragflick) December 15, 2018
Prior to this, the Red Lions’ best performance in the World Cup was a fifth-place finish in the last edition of the tournament at The Hague, Netherlands in 2014.
The Belgium players, who wore black armbands to pay respect to their teammate Gougnard whose father passed away before the match, dominated possession in the first two quarters and created a couple of promising chances, two of which resulted in goals.
It didn’t take long for Belgium to take the lead as Boon deflected in Florent van Aubel’s measured cross from the left in the eighth minute.
Just seconds from the end of first quarter, Boon again came close but his deflection from a long ball hit the post.
Belgium doubled their lead in the 19th minute through Gougnard, who scored from a rebound after Hendrickx’s flick from their first penalty corner was saved by England captain and goalkeeper George Pinner.
The Red Lions missed a sitter three minutes from half time when an unmarked Dockier pushed wide Van Aubel’s pass, with only Pinner to beat.
Just a minute after the change of ends, England secured their first penalty corner, but the world number seven failed to capitalise on the opportunity.
Belgium extended their lead in the 42nd minute through Charlier, who scored with a fierce shot from a close range.
Minutes later, England earned another penalty corner but Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch was up to the task, and thwarted the danger with a fine save.
Seconds from the end of the third quarter, Belgium made it 4-0 when Hendrickx found the back of the English net from his team’s second penalty corner.
Belgium continued to toy with the English defence and pumped in two more goals in the fourth and final quarter to make the last-four contest a thoroughly one-sided affair.
Another penalty corner resulted in another goal through Hendrickx, in the 50th minute, before Dockier scored from a field effort three minutes later to complete the rout.
Towards the end of the match, England secured two more penalty corners but lack of execution let them down, as they rounded off a disappointing outing