Belgium continued their excellent start to the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final 2017 event, claiming a second successive victory to take control of Pool A at the end of Day 3 in Bhubaneswar, India.
Belgium’s Red Lions (FIH Hero World Ranking: 3) claimed a 5-0 win against the Red Sticks of Spain (WR: 9), adding another three points to those collected in Saturday’s triumph over Olympic gold medallists Argentina.
While the Belgians were seen as the pre-match favourites, Spain’s impressive win over the Netherlands on Saturday ensured that they had good reason to feel confident about their own prospects.
Belgium needed just three minutes to make the first mark on the scoreboard when Floren van Aubel dived at full stretch to squeeze in a shot from a tight angle, making the most of an opportunity created by Red Lions captain Thomas Briels.
Spain gave as good as they got in their opening two periods before Loick Luypaert netted a rasping penalty corner drag-flick midway through the third quarter to give Belgium breathing space.
Three goals in the final three minutes of the match perhaps gave a rather flattering look to the score-line, with Luypaert completing has hat-trick with a penalty corner and a penalty stroke either side of an open play effort from the ever impressive Cedric Charlier.
The result put Belgium onto six points in Pool A, ensuring that they would finish the day three points clear of their nearest rivals even before the start of the evening match between Olympic champions Argentina and European champions the Netherlands.
RESULTS – DAY 3
Pool A: Belgium 5, Spain 0.
Man of the Match, presented by Odisha New Opportunities: Arthur van Doren (BEL)
Junior Player of the Match, presented by ONGC: Arthur de Sloover (BEL)
Pool A: Netherlands 3, Argentina 3.
Man of the Match, presented by Odisha New Opportunities: Valentin Verga (NED)
Junior Player of the Match, presented by ONGC: Joep de Mol (NED)