BHUBANESWAR, Dec 1:
Defending champions India beat European giants Belgium by a solitary goal to progress to the semifinals and keep alive their title hopes in the FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here today.
India, who beat Belgium 2-1 in the final en route to their title triumph in the last edition in Lucknow in 2016, continued their domination over the European side in junior hockey.
Shardananad Tiwari’s penalty corner conversion in the 21th minute was enough for India to seal their place in the last four.
The match was a classic example of defensive class from both the sides but the Indians did just enough to edge past their opponents.
India will take on last edition’s bronze medallist Germany in the semifinals on Friday. Six-time champions Germany beat Spain 3-1 in the shoot-out after both the teams were locked 2-2 in regulation time.
The Belgians started aggressively and created pressure on the Indian defence in the first few minutes.
But the Indian backline produced good men-to-men marking and stayed calm under pressure to deny Belgium.
In the 13th minute Belgium had the first shy at the goal but Indian custodian Prasanth Chauhan was up to the task to deny Thibeau Stockbroekx from close range.
India’s first scoring chance came just seconds from the first quarter through a creative Uttam Singh, but his effort was kept at bay by Belgium goalkeeper Boris Feldheim.(PTI)