Hockey FIH Pro League, Belgium vs India as it happened: India men earn shootout bonus after thriller
Recap of the first leg matches between India and Belgium (both women and men’s teams) in Antwerp.
Follow Scroll.in’s coverage of Indian hockey here.
Rani Rampal interview: ‘Injuries teach you a lot in life, told myself giving up is not an option’
1730 IST: Belgium 1-2 India (women)
2000 IST: Belgium 3-3 India (men) - India wins 5-4 in the shootout
That’s it from us today. Join us for the matches tomorrow. The Indian women’s team plays Belgium at 17:30 hrs, followed by the men’s team’s match at 20:00 hrs. See you then.
Interview: India men’s hockey coach Graham Reid on areas to improve, 3D skills, rotation & more
Here’s what coach Reid had told us:
In terms of what you saw in the Pro League matches at home earlier this year, did you identify maybe a couple of areas that you wanted to work on right away during this little camp? Was there something that caught your attention as the most important thing?
I think penalty corners are always there, that’s just something you need to constantly work on. And we’ve been trying different ways to do things both in attack and defense. There’s only a certain amount of things you can do as far as the corners are concerned. So it’s a bit like Formula One racing – you spend a lot of time trying to improve on like 1% or half a percent.
Goal shooting. We’re trying some different things in the attacking circle, getting a bit more focused around where we want to get the ball. You may have heard me talk about the Goal Opportunity Total or the GOT scores, which is basically a qualitative way of scoring your goal opportunities both for and against. One of the things we were noticing against Argentina and Spain was that we were creating a lot of ones and twos – in other words we’re getting into the circle but not really creating good enough opportunities. So we’re trying to focus on how we can turn those ones and twos into fours and fives. Five is basically almost a free shot in front of the goal. So to create fives is very difficult, but converting ones and twos into threes and fours should make it easier for us to score. So that’s the sort of stuff we’ve been working on.
Between the two teams, there were circle penetrations 56 times through the course of 60 minutes. That stat itself tells the story of a match played at high velocity from both teams. Belgium and India ended their match in a 3-3 draw, possibily the most fitting result between the two teams as there was nothing really to separate them. Shamsher Singh scored first for India, then Belgium scored three and the Olympic champions looked set to take home three points and move up to second place in the FIH Pro League table. Only for Harmanpreet Singh to score through a stroke, and Jarmanpreet to equalise in the 58th minute. Then it was Sreejesh’s save in the shootout that gave India the bonus point in Antwerp.
The Indians will have to do much better tomorrow against the Belgians, if they want to catch up with the Dutch at the top of the leaderboard.
PR Sreejesh wins the player of the match in what has been a thrilling match. “Great comeback from my teammates. They never gave up they just keep on fighting,” he said.
India gets two points at the end of this match, Belgium gets just the one.
Shootout - Belgium 4-5 India: Akashdeep steps up and scores comfortably with a tomahawk. India gets the bonus point.
Shootout - Belgium 4-4 India: Nicolas de Kerpel is fouled by Sreejesh. Hendrickx steps up to take a stroke for the third time. AND SREEJESH SAVES IT! Hendrickx goes the same direction and guesses it right.
Shootout - Belgium 4-4 India: Shamsher dribbles and scores with a reverse hit.
Shootout - Belgium 4-3 India: Stroke given, Hendrickx steps up and scores again.
Shootout - Belgium 3-3 India: Sreejesh taps the ball away from Arthur de Sloover, but the refree deems that the goalkeeper hits the Belgian’s stick. Sreejesh refers the decision.
Shootout - Belgium 3-3 India: Pretty straight foward this time by Lalit. Moves forward with pace, runs to his left, then sharp turn to the right before slotting past van Doren.
Shootout - Belgium 3-2 India: Simon Gougnard shows his back to Sreejesh, turns and scores with a reverse hit.
Shootout - Belgium 2-2 India: Abhishek stutters a bit, moves sharply to his left and scores on a reverse hit. The referee refers it thinking it might be a backstick, but it’s a clean hit.
Shootout - Belgium 2-1 India: Sreejesh fouls Cosyns and Belgium awarded a stroke. Hendrickx sends Sreejesh the wrong way to put Belgium in the lead.
Shootout - Belgium 1-1 India: Harmanpreet takes his time and scores with a clever reverse hit.
Shootout - Belgium 1-0 India: Gauthier Boccard goes past Sreejesh and scores on the dive.
We’re out of time. Shoot-out next.
Q4 - Belgium 3-3 India: This time the flick goes wide.
Q4 - Belgium 3-3 India: This time Rohidas gets in the way. Another PC.
Q4 - Belgium 3-3 India: India sends two runners to block Hendrickx drag-flick and Manpreet is floored. But it’s another PC for Belgium. 45 seconds left.
Q4 - Belgium 3-3 India: Just 54 seconds left and Belgium gets the penalty corner. Sreejesh makes a good block from the cross from the left, but there was a foot involved before the ball got to the goalkeeper.
Q4 - Belgium 3-3 India: GOAL FOR INDIA! Jarmanpreet Singh equalises! Jugraj goes for the variation this time, passes it back and Jarmanpreet thumps it home.
Q4 - Belgium 3-2 India: Victor Wegnez, the first rusher, gets his body in the way. Another PC for India. And then he gets hit again. India awarded a third PC at the end of the same move.
Q4 - Belgium 3-2 India: Manpreet Singh wins India a penalty corner with just under three minutes left of play.
Q4 - Belgium 3-2 India: 5 minutes left of play. Given how these two teams have been playing, that’s a long time for anything to happen.
Q4 - Belgium 3-2 India: Manpreet comes close to equalising. Shoots from the right side of the circle, van Doren gets down to make the save quickly, but it still sneaks through from under him. As the ball rolls towards the goal it’s cleared away by a defender.
Vinayakk Mohanarangan: Manpreet Singh, when he is driving forward with purpose when India are chasing a match, is a completely different beast. Terrific run to win that stroke.
Q4 - Belgium 3-2 India: Harmanpreet goes for the shot but van Doren makes another strong save.
Q4 - Belgium 3-2 India: Penalty corner for India.
Q4 - Belgium 3-2 India: GOAL FOR INDIA! Harmanpreet reduces the deficit. His stroke goes nice and clear of van Doren, goes into the roof of the net.
Q4 - Belgium 3-1 India: Penalty stroke for India. Individual brilliance by Manpreet to control the ball and take it forward, juggling it on his stick at pace. Dodges defenders until Hendrickx fouls him in the circle.
Q4 - Belgium 3-1 India: GOAL FOR BELGIUM! De Kerpel thumps his drag-flick past Surender Singh and the diving Sreejesh. Belgium now in command in this match.
Q4 - Belgium 2-1 India: That move was just so fast from Belgium that the cameras view in slow motion is way too blurred for the TV umpire to make any sense of it. ‘No advice possible’. PC for Belgium, but India keeps the referral.
Q4 - Belgium 2-1 India: Quick counter-attack from Belgium ends with a penalty corner for the hosts in Antwerp. Harmanpreet Singh though is quick to ask for a referral.
Q4 - Belgium 2-1 India: Another good chance for India. At the end of a move forward, Harmanpreet crosses in from the right but Lalit Upadhyay is just a yard too late to get to the ball.
The third quarter has been just as gripping as the first two. Both teams have been attack-minded, and their defence has been disciplined. Both goalkeepers have made stellar saves. The only difference between the two teams was Gougnard’s well constructed goal.
End of Q3 - Belgium 2-1 India
Q3 - Belgium 2-1 India: Good chance for India as Manpreet dispossess a defender in their own half and passes it on to Dilpreet. He takes it forward and, on the dive, tries to pass it forward to the rushing Mandeep but a defender gets there in time for the interception.
Q3 - Belgium 2-1 India: What a save from Sreejesh! Ball comes in from the right and Tanguy Cosnys gets a deflection, but the ball loops up. Sreejesh is out of position but rushes back to stop John-John Dohmen’s high-ball shot into an empty goal.
Q3 - Belgium 2-1 India: GOAL FOR BELGIUM! The Olympic champions take the lead. High ball from the back controlled smartly by Florent van Aubel. He moves ahead and passes it forward to Simon Gougnard. He gets it past his marker, gets in the circle and thumps it past Sreejesh.
Q3 - Belgium 1-1 India: What a save from Loic van Doren in the Belgium goal. Harmanpreet’s drag flick is blocked by the first runner. But the ball falls kindly to Manpreet Singh, who has a clear shot at goal. Van Doren dives to his right to get the ball away.
Q3 - Belgium 1-1 India: The second half starts, and India wins a penalty corner in 30 seconds.
Update: Arthur van Doren is out from this match after that nasty tumble at the end of the first quarter
Vinayakk Mohanarangan: One of the best games of the season so far says Dan Strange (Commentator) who has probably watched the most FIH Pro League matches by anyone this season, so he must know! Gripping stuff in Antwerp.
Dan Strange in commentary says “this was the best half of hockey I’ve seen in the FIH Pro League this season.”
You can understand why. A gripping first half, marked with chances for both teams, pacy passages of play, reflex saves from goalkeepers, and whole-hearted attacking hockey from both sides that are locked in a 1-1 draw at the end of 30 minutes.
End of Q2 - Belgium 1-1 India
Q2 - Belgium 1-1 India: With 5 seconds to go, what a ball that was from Akashdeep to Dilpreet, he crosses it to Mandeep but the Belgian defence recovers in time.
Q2 - Belgium 1-1 India: In this rare slow passage of play, this has been an thoroughly gripping match so far. Still 3 mins left to the end of the first half.
Q2 - Belgium 1-1 India: Varun Kumar looks for the deflection but Belgium has it covered.
Q2 - Belgium 1-1 India: PC to Belgium, Rohidas the first rusher gets a block. But a Belgian striker gets the rebound and shoots, which Sreejesh saves. Quick counter attack and now India has a PC.
Q2 - Belgium 1-1 India: PC for India, but the first rusher gets it away.
Q2 - Belgium 1-1 India: GOAL FOR BELGIUM! Arthur van Doren with an accurate pass forward from the left for Nicolas de Kerpel to collect. He gets past a marker and crosses it to Cedric Charlier who deflects it home.
Q2 - Belgium 0-1 India: GOAL FOR INDIA! Abhishek passes it forward but the ball loops up. Shamsher is the first to react and knocks on the high ball into an open goal. The goal is referred by the umpire, but ‘no need to change decision.’ India take the lead.
Q2 - Belgium 0-0 India: And we’re off again.
End of Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: What a game so far. Flair, pace, lots of shots at goal, and even better saves from both keepers to keep it goalless.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: Hardik Singh with a clumsy tackle and earns a green card with just over a minute left on the clock.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: Immediate counter attack from India, but not the best ball forward from Akashdeep to find Mandeep, who still manages to get a cross in, but there was enough time for the Belgian defence to get back and clear the danger. End-to-end stuff so far.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: And again it’s Sreejesh to the rescue. Dives to his right to make an excellent save off that Alexander Hendrickx drag-flick.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: Half-chance for Mandeep but good defending by Belgium to close the space on the striker. They launch a counter-attack and earn a penalty corner.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: Tom Boon steps up to take the drag flick as the home crowd shouts the striker’s name. But it’s PR Sreejesh who comes up on top in that duel. The India goalkeeper gets a good save from his outstretched right foot.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: Belgium soaking in the pressure so far, but now get a PC of their own after Tom Boon is fouled in the circle.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: Excellent chance for India goes just a foot wide. Brilliant work by Manpreet Singh - who else - as he charges forward and places an wonderfully weighted pass to Akashdeep. Unmarked and with time on his hands, Akashdeep goes for a first-time shot but it goes just wide and into the side netting.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: Powerfully taken drag flick from Jugraj, but Loic van Doren gets his entire body behind the shot. Another PC for India in the ensuing melee. Jugraj takes the PC again, and another big save by van Doren, this time getting the ball away to safety.
Q1 - Belgium 0-0 India: First big chance for India, as Shamsher Singh wins the first penalty corner of the match for India.
They’re off! Belgium get this match started.
And here are the national anthems.
This is the first time since April 15 that the Indian men’s team will compete in the FIH Pro League - their last match was the 3-1 win over a new-look German side in Bhubaneswar. That was their seventh out-right win in 12 matches, keeping them on second place in the table behind the Netherlands. India has won eight matches, drawn twice and lost two games to account for the 27 points they have.
Belgium, meanwhile, are level on points with India and have the same record this season - they are in third place due to an inferior goal difference. This is the first time the two teams are meeting in the Pro League this season.
Coming up: Belgium vs India (men) – Here’s the lineup
India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): The teams will return to action on Sunday once again. Following this result, it also means that Argentina will be crowned champions this season.
Full time stats, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): It’s clear where India struggled today. The defensive side of things was not quite up to the mark and it is understandable perhaps when they are playing after a lengthy break. “Little bit disappointed to be honest with our performance, Belgium deserved to win,” says Janneke Schopman.
FULL TIME, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): An entertaining game of hockey it must be said. India gave it a good go in the end but a couple of defensive errors cost them.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): Oh dear, Ambre has been in the receiving end for a few times today! Applauded of the pitch after a hit to the face. She’s alright. India come forward.. final 20 seconds.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): Less than 2 mins to go. Can India find an equaliser? It’s been a superb fight in the final quarter but they are running out of time.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): India keeping the pressure up. Less than 3 mins to go. India need a goal to at least force a shootout.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): Oh great stick work from Rani in the circle but she can’t get the shot away.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): Baljeet having a tough debut. Gets a green card for touching the ball after whistle. Inexperience there, she will learn.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): Six minutes to go... plenty of time.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): Neha and Navneet are coming in for high praise from Sjoerd on air. Both of have been influential. Navneet nearly sets Rani up for a finish but the angle is tight. By the way, Bichu in goal. Good to see India give the youngster a high pressure quarter.
Q4, India 1-2 Belgium (Women’s): GOAL INDIA! A lovely start to the final quarter and the pressure pays off. Lalremsiami pounces on an error in defence and finishes calmly. Ishika has had a good impact going forward early on in this quarter. This goal however was all Siami. Pressed high, forced the error and great composure in finish.
End of Q3, India 0-2 Belgium (Women’s): Belgium’s quarter by some distance. A goal to extend the lead but also the better chances going forward. India didn’t quite get things right in that 15-minute phase. Savita the busier goalkeeper.
Q3, India 0-2 Belgium (Women’s): Indian defence hang on, a bit of friendly fire in the Belgian attack.
Q3, India 0-2 Belgium (Women’s): Baljeet, a debutant, goes hard onto Ambre recklessly. And it is a PC for Belgium.
Q3, India 0-2 Belgium (Women’s): India responding. Neha and Rani with good play in possession, now a spell of attacking play down the right.... oh wait, Belgium get the ball back high up as Udita makes a mistake and India are scrambling.
Q3, India 0-2 Belgium (Women’s): GOAL BELGIUM! Ambre BALLENGHIEN gets the final touch and it comes from a quickly taken free hit. India just caught a bit on the backfoot once again. That’s the sort of thing I suppose happens when match sharpness is lacking. (score corrected)
Q3, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): IShika had a tough first half but she is strong in defence there. But Belgium pressure.
Q3, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): A loopy hit from distance hits the crossbar of India’s goal and there is a bit of panic in the defence.
Q3, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): Once again India start the Q well but Belgium have a PC after a nice move through the middle. Great passing. Savita back in goal but she doesn’t have to make the save, goes well wide.
Janneke Schopman: ‘Just take an extra second, keep the little more of the ball’ is the message to the players. Started well but caught on the backfoot on the counter for the goal.
First half stats: India’s attacking plays have not resulted in enough clear-cut opportunities while a fair few of Belgium’s circle entries came from India’s defensive errors. India can clearly improve, but as we said earlier, there is bound to be some rustiness.
HALF TIME, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): Well, that was entertaining. India found their groove again at the end of the half but ran out of time to create a big chance. There’s been a nice ebb and flow.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): SALIMA’s PACE! Lovely burst through the midfield and Belgium have to foul her to stop her. Marijne is buzzing, you could hear.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): Belgium, it is worth noting, have been playing in recent days but India are playing a match after a lengthy break. That is showing at the moment.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): A brilliant counter from Rani-Navneet but it breaks down and then it results in a counter from the hosts and it is nearly a goal! Lovely stuff.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): Didn’t seem like a good injection again but another PC given... but it is overturned.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): India struggling for attacking momentum. Ishika with a mistake again, mishits a pass out of defence and it leads to a PC. The Indian youngster not having the best of quarters.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): Not sure if it was Bichu or the player on the post, but the drag flick is sent wide. More pressure from Belgium.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): It’s mostly been India this quarter but Belgium have a good phase and they make it count with a PC. Ishika with a stick tackle. India lose possession a bit too much in the build-up to this.
Q2, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): The trademark “Pressure, Pressure” from Janneke on the sidelines and on cue India press high and win the ball back. Good start by the Indians to this quarter.
End of Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): The goalkeepers changed for both sides and India are bringing on Bichu Devi, one of the junior world cup stars.
End of Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): The Indians started well. Nelen’s goal the difference. Marjine reckons it was a set play from training. Worked well. India responded well it must be said.
Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): A break in play as a Belgium forward is down after a clash inside India circle. No malice, play continues on. India build from the back. (Worth noting there is no Gurjit Kaur in India’s lineup today for PC duties).
Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): Rani takes the hit (not a drag flick) as she usually does and it is wide of the goal.
Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): It is a quick adjustment from Belgium after a mis-trap. But India hang on.
Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): On cue, when Marijne is speaking about Rani’s creative skills, she wins a PC For India.
Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): India under some serious pressure defensively at the moment. And it finally results in a PC again. India should have cleared their lines better there. Nikki caught in possession.
Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): A PC for Belgium but India hang on. Good rush.
Q1, India 0-1 Belgium (Women’s): GOAL BELGIUM! An attacking start from both sides but Belgium put together a series of good attacking passes, move the ball vertically quickly and it catches the Indian defence off guard. Barbara Nelen (C) given the goal.
Q1, India 0-0 Belgium (Women’s): PUSHBACK! And Sjoerd Marijne is in the commentary box.
India coach Janneke Schopman: I always want to win, but I am more interested on how we play today. Whether we can execute what we have been doing in training.
India vs Belgium (Women’s): A look at the H2H since 2013. India up against it.
Hockey, FIH Pro League: Savita-led India looking to learn from mistakes ahead of Belgium test
The Indian team features goalkeepers Savita and Bichu Devi Kharibam, defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Akshata Abaso Dhekale. The midfield will see Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Salima Tete and Baljeet Kaur.
The forward-line will see the very experienced Vandana Katariya lead the charge with Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Sangita Kumari, Deepika and Rani.
“This is a good, well-balanced squad with a mix of some very experienced players and youngsters who have shown great promise after their Junior World Cup outing. I am very interested to find out how they will play in European conditions against quality sides like Belgium, Argentina and US,” coach Janneke Schopman had said.
Rani Rampal is back in the Indian starting lineup for the first time since Tokyo Olympics. Read more in our interview here.
Rani Rampal interview: ‘Injuries teach you a lot in life, told myself giving up is not an option’
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Indian hockey. It’s FIH Pro League time once again as the Indian women and men’s teams return after a break, this time away in Belgium.
FIH Hockey Pro League action continues on Saturday 11 June with a fascinating day of fixtures. First, Belgium play India at 1730 IST at the Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp. At 2000 IST Belgium men will be looking to extend their winning streak and move closer to the top of the table as they play the current second placed team, India. This match is also at the Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp.
The Indian Women’s Team is currently placed at the third position in the Table with 22 points in 8 games, just behind Argentina and the Netherlands. Belgium, on the other hand, are currently placed in the seventh place on the table with 12 points in 8 games.
Screenshots in the blog courtesy: FIH Media / Disney+Hotstar