Title holders Belgium beat New Zealand 2-0 to enter World Cup semis | Hockey News



BHUBANESWAR: Belgium, reigning champion and three-time winner Australia booked places in the semi-finals of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup after getting the better of Spain and New Zealand in their respective quarter-finals on Tuesday.
While Australia worked hard for a 4-3 victory over Spain in the first quarter-final, Belgium didn’t face many problems in their 2-0 victory against Premier League winners New Zealand. India in their second round of 16 match of the day at Kalinga Stadium.
With the victory over Spain, Australia played their 12th consecutive semi-final in the World Cup.
Winner of the 1986, 2010 and 2014 editions, Australia have qualified for the semi-finals of a World Cup 11 times since the 1978 edition in Buenos Aires.
They lost to the Dutch in the semi-finals in a penalty shootout last time out here in 2018.
Belgium suffered a jolt just before their quarter-final game as their penalty corner expert Alexander Hendrickx was ruled out of the rest of the tournament after twisting his knee in their final Pool B game against Japan on January 20.
Belgium are now awaiting the winner of Wednesday’s quarter-final between England and Germany in the semi-finals, while title contenders Australia will face the winner of the other last-eight game between the countries. -Bas and South Korea.
It was a close affair in the quarter-final match between Australia and Spain, but Jeremy Hayward’s two penalty kicks in the third quarter were the difference.
Spain captain Marc Miralles made a costly mistake when he failed to score on a penalty kick four minutes from time as his side trained 3-4. If he had scored, the game would have been a shootout.
Hayward scored in the 33rd and 37th minutes while Flynn Ogilvie (30th) and captain Aran Zalewski (32nd) scored on the field for Australia.
Xavier Gispert (20th), Marc Recasens (24th) and Miralles (41st) were the scorers for Spain who will now return home.
They had finished a humble 13th last time out.
Spain denied Australia a quick one-touch game in the first quarter. Australia, however, dominated as they earned three penalty corners in the opening 15 minutes but were unable to convert once.
Penalty corner specialist Blake Grover took two with no success while Hayward kicked once with the same result as both teams failed to break the deadlock in the first quarter.
But Spain came as a surprise in the second quarter, scoring two goals against one by Australia.
At one point, it looked like an upset victory was on the cards as the European side trailed 2-0 until the last minute of the second quarter.
Spain scored two fine goals on the pitch through Gispert and Recasens to lead 2-0 in the 24th minute.
But seconds into the second quarter, Australia pulled one back, with Ogilvie finding himself unchallenged in the Spanish strike circle following a pass from Matt Dawson.
Ogilvie hit hard and beat the goaltender to ease the pressure.
While Spain were the better team in the second quarter, Australia were clearly the dominant team in the third, scoring three of the four goals scored in that period.
It was a flurry of three goals in the space of five minutes for Australia as Zalewski found the target in the second minute of the third quarter before Hayward struck twice in a row in the 33rd and 37th minutes.
After leading 0-2 just before the end of the second quarter, Australia led 4-2 in the third quarter.
Spain pulled one back four minutes before the end of the third quarter with Miralles scoring on a PC.
The fourth quarter was hotly contested and Spain had the chance to score the equalizer and lead the game in a shootout. But Miralles wasted a penalty kick with Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter, who was later named player of the match, blocking the shot with his outstretched left leg.
Later, Belgium were slow to settle in their quarter-final against New Zealand, but once they did, the defending champions took control of the match, scoring a goal apiece in the first and second quarters.
They held on to their 2-0 first half lead until the end of the game.
Star striker Tom Boon opened the scoring for Belgium in the 11th minute from their first penalty corner.
The New Zealand defense was caught taking a nap in the first minute of the second quarter.
Simon Gougnard’s cross from the right side of the ‘D’ got past at least two New Zealand defenders and Florent van Aubel was unmarked to slam home for an easy goal in the 16th minute.
The third and fourth quarters yielded no goals, Belgium making most of the attack while New Zealand defended their citadel well.
The Black Sticks also mounted some fiery challenges in the fourth quarter with some good attacking moves, but their final touch or deflection didn’t come.



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