THE HAGUE: In a feisty game that saw three yellow cards, five goals and an interminable number of referrals, Belgium cemented their reputation as a goal-scoring nation with a 2-5 win over a battling Spanish team in the Men’s Hockey World Cup game on Saturday. Proving that they are not a one-man scoring team, Tanguy Cosyns, Alexandre de Saedeleer and John-John Dohmen all got their names on the score-sheet, with Cosyns scoring twice, both times spectacularly well-taken penalty corners. Although Spain scored two late consolation goals in the 58th and 66th minutes, through Eduard Tubau and captain Santi Freixa, the match was already beyond them. It was a good way for Belgium ‘keeper Vincent Vanash to celebrate his 100th cap, but in truth the Spanish didn’t trouble him much, as a busy performance from Santi Freixa and his men was full of energy but lacking in any real finishing power.
Spain started brightly enough; with Andres Mir making a surging run through the Belgium defence, but 13 minutes into the match Cosyns scored his first penalty corner with a drag flick that rocketed past Quico Cortes in the Spanish goal. The next goal-scoring chance for the Red Sticks was created by a mazy run up the field by Florent van Aubel. This time it was Alexandre de Saedeleer (16) who put away the penalty corner to make it 2-0.
It might have been a different game if a goal by Spain had not been disallowed. The correct ruling that it had been played dangerously threatened to disrupt the discipline of the Red Sticks and both Spain’s captain Santi Freixa and Belgium’s Xavier Reckinger took a two minute break from play as a result of a dispute. With a minute of the half left, Stockbroekx (34) was rewarded for his earlier efforts with a fine goal scored from open play. He picked up the ball after a good run by the ever-industrious Cosyns and his subsequent reverse stick shot flew into the net to seal a satisfactory first half.
Spain started the second half at a frenetic pace by winning a penalty corner. This was saved and a quick counter-attack yielded a penalty corner at the other end and Cosyns (36’) scored his second. Belgium then added a fifth when John-John Dohmen picked up the rebound from a Tom Boon penalty corner shot and scooped it over the prone ‘keeper, Cortes. Spain scored two late goals through Eduard Tubau (58) and Santi Freixa (66), but this was a case of much too little too late.
India beat Malaysia 3-2: India finally managed to get a win in the Hockey World Cup 2014, courtesy a goal from Jasjit Singh in the 14th minute and a brace from Akashdeep Singh, which helped India to get past Malaysia by 3-2 on Saturday. Jasjit Singh Kular (14th) opened the scoring for India while Akashdeep Singh (49th, 51st) got a double. For Malaysia, Razle Adbul Rahim (46th) and Marhan Jalil (61st) sounded the board. Akashdeep first applied the finishing touch to Rupinder Pal Singh’s fine run on a counter-attack by deflecting in a diagonal cross into the boards in the 49th minute.
The victory gives India four points from as many matches in Group A, and ensures that it would not face the ignominy of being the bottom-placed team in the pool. Irrespective of the result of India’s last group match against defending World champions Australia, they will finish either in the fourth or fifth spot. A combination of results in the last league outings for India, Spain and Malaysia would have bearing on the final group standings. Spain will play Malaysia in their last league outing. Malaysia have lost all four matches, while Spain have two draws from four games. A victory for Malaysia could pave the way for India to finish fourth in the group and play the playoff for the seventh and eighth spots.
It is all very well to try and tell yourself captaining your country in an ICC Cricket World Cup is ...