India ended their disappointing run in FIH Hockey World League by beating Belgium 3-2 in the penalty shootout to enter the semi-final on Wednesday evening at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The game went into shootout as both the teams were tied at 3-3 at the end of regulation time. For India, Lalit Upadhyay, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh netted the ball. On the other hand, Loick Luypaert, Cedric Charlier scored the goals for Belgium. Indian goalkeeper Akash Chikte delivered a splendid performance for India to keep the Belgians away from the goal post during the shootout which Indian side eventually went on to win by a margin of 3-2.
India did not have a great run in the group stage either and finished on the bottom place in Pool B after two defeats and one draw. Belgium, on the other hand, had topped the Pool A but failed to deliver a good performance when it mattered the most. In their last group game, India had suffered a 2-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany in their final FIH Hockey World League encounter. India had started the campaign on a good note playing a draw against much superior Australia. However, things only went downhill from there as the team has suffered two consecutive losses against Germany and England.
India had started the campaign on a good note playing a draw against much superior Australia. However, things only went downhill from there as the team has suffered two consecutive losses against Germany and England. Before the match against Germany, Indian coach Sjored Marijne had said that India played with a lot of enthusiasm against England, but lacked energy in the game against England. “Against Australia, we were extremely disciplined. Against England, there was a little less energy and when you do that against these opponents, in the beginning, it becomes difficult to create chances. That was one of the differences. We made more individual mistakes,” Marijne said.