Belgium 5-0 India (women)- Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp (BEL)

Belgium got off to a blistering start when Abi Raye drove the ball around the baseline and slipped it to Barbara Nelen. It was Nelen who opening the scoring the previosu day in the third minute; today she was on the score-sheet a minute earlier. 

Belgium were able to extend their lead two minutes later when Charlotte Engelbert ran the ball into the circle, dodging and weaving around the defence before sending home a beautiful reverse stick shot that evaded Savita’s outstretched boot.

Despite being hit so hard in the opening few minutes, India looked bright and were working hard to get back into the game. That determination took a big blow in the second quarter however when Belgium scored twice more to double their lead to 4-0. 

First Abi Raye was able to pounce onto a loose ball after her team had peppered Bichu Devi Kharibam – who had replaced savita in the India goal – and the India defence with shots. The final rebound dropped to Raye and she finished with aplomb. The fourth goal was a typically direct and powerful drag flick from Stephanie vanden Borre. 

The fifth goal was a sparkling effort from Ambre Ballenghien. The ball was fired into the circle and the striker connected with it even as she was falling backwards.

India Head Coach Janneke Schopman said: “We are not too worried about these results, the World Cup is our goal and we use these games to see what is working and what is not. We are also looking at our selection as we haven’t played our strongest line-up yet.”

Belgium 3-2 India (men)- Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp (BEL)

Fascinating, enthralling, highly competitive, team goals, moments of individual brilliance, the two FIH Pro League matches between Belgium and India had everything. To the very last minute of the second match, this encounter was barely able to separate the teams.

The first goal came in the 25th minute as India put on a showcase of sublime team work as the ball went smoothly from Varun to Harman to Vivek to Gurjant to Lalit to Gurjant and finally to Abishek, who was able to tap home.

Belgium’s answer came as Cedric Charlier stole the ball, relaeased Arhtur de Sloover whose pass found Nicholas de Kerpel. The tall forward squeezed the ball through a narrow gap to bring the scores level.

Alexander Hendrickx was on the score sheet twice, first from a penalty corner that was scored through his trade mark powerful and accurate shot. It was Hendrickx who finally put to bed in the final minute when he put a penalty stroke past PR Sreejesh. The Indian keeper was just a tantalising few inches from saving it. With just a few seconds on the clock, this was the goal that sealed the match.

That said, India still didn’t give up. With just 37 seconds left on the clock, Mandeep found a way through the Belgium defence and made it 3-2. With milli-seconds left on the clock, Vivek nearly pulled off a miracle comeback as his shot flew over Vincent Vanasch’s goal.

Player of the Match Arthur de Sloover said: “The whole defence did well today. India is one of the best countries in the world and we did a good job to beat them. Yesterday and today, it was the details that matter. We did well up front and kept it tight at the back. I tried to replace Arthur van Doren as best as I could.”

— via FIH Media

Another day, another thriller between these two sides in Antwerp. India nearly made it another sensational 3-3 but the world & Olympic champs win and go up to 2nd on the table. India take on Netherlands next week and will need to win both matches you’d imagine to have a chance. Belgium go to England knowing two wins for them would be handy. Netherlands, despite today’s reversal, still have 4 matches to go (2 vs India, 2 vs Spain) to win this league.

Belgium 3-2 India (Men): Tighter game today says Reid, but another great match. Could have nearly scored there at the end, but that’s sport, he signs off. We couldn’t put it any better.

FULL TIME, Belgium 3-2 India (Men): NEARLY AN EQUALISER! With seconds left on the clock, Vivek has a great chance to sensationally level things. But the shot is off target. What a finish. What a match! AGAIN!

Q4, Belgium 3-2 India (Men): GOAL! Hang on a minute! Mandeep Singh has given India a chance.

Q4, Belgium 3-1 India (Men): GOAL! Hendrickx scores again, no mistake from the stroke (actually Sreejesh got close there). And that’s probably that. Minute left in this match.

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): Oh penalty stroke given to Belgium. India refer this. Sreejesh disagrees vehemently.

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): Two mins to go. Belgium managing this well.

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): VANASCH! MONSTER. Seemed like this was heading into the roof of the corner. What a save.

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): PC for India it is. (Might have been given on field actually).

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): Great work by Abhishek this time and eventually India think they have won a PC. Rohidas refers this immediately.

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): OH HUGE CHANCE INDIA! Great work by Lalit down the left and the ball eventually falls to Shamsher whose shot is past the GK but seems like someone got a stick on it.

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): Belgium had it coming it must be said, they have been superb second half. India still not finding the consistency in attack they did early in this match. A big chance now for the hosts after India lose the ball deep in their half. Boon with super work.

Q4, Belgium 2-1 India (Men): HENCDRICKX HAUNTS INDIA AGAIN! A superb PC, powerful and straight through Srejeesh’s legs.

Q4, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Surender gets into a tangle and concedes a PC. Henderickx on the pitch.

Q4, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Will we have an outright winner today? Netherlands lost earlier against Germany and both teams will gain a fair bit with three points.

End of Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Oh a brilliant pass from center to left by Jugraj (I think) and India come forward well but BEL hang on. Hooter goes.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Cagey affair at the moment as Q3 comes to a close.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): India not going gung-ho with possession as they are down to 10. Steady with the ball. Staying patient.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Now India are down to 10, Akashdeep with a green card.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Uff delightful skills by Shamsher in the middle of the park, then Harman not long after. But the move itself doesn’t go far for India.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): A green card for Dohmen, India have a man advantage for 2 mins. 7:31 to go in this Q.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Sreejesh is alert, well positioned to save this. His goal under serious pressure at the moment.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): Sreejesh with a big save to keep things level. The hosts on the ascendancy.

Q3, Belgium 1-1 India (Men): GOAL BELGIUM! A chance for India to start Q3, Vanasch saves and not long after, Belgium level things up! A great team goal again, this one finished from a tight angle by de Nicolas de KERPEL .

Q3, Belgium 0-1 India (Men): Underway in Antwerp again... and Vanasch makes a huge save early on. Brilliant cross into the circle by Harmanpreet and Akashdeep’s shot is saved well.

Coach Reid: Tighter game today, not as much room. We have to be better than we were in the last 30 seconds of that half, need to keep our focus.

HALF TIME: Belgium 0-1 India (Men) We are still thinking about that goal by India. A delightful move, superb quick passing and movements, from defence to offence. Great stuff. Belgium still very much in it too. Not much to choose at all between the two sides.

HALF TIME: Belgium 0-1 India (Men)

HALF TIME: Belgium 0-1 India (Men) Belgium came back strong after that Indian goal, but the defence held on. Another high quality half of hockey, that

Q2, Belgium 0-1 India (Men):A glimpse of how that goal was constructed.

Q2, Belgium 0-1 India (Men): GOAL INDIA! WHAT A SUPERB TEAM GOAL. Gurjant to Vivek, Vivek to Gurjant, Gurjant to Lalit, Lalit to Gurjant, Gurjant to Abhishek... goal!

Q2, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): No goalkeeper rotation from India yet. Sreejesh remains in charge and he says a Belgium shot go wide.

Q2, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Harmanpreet got his shot away but Belgium deal with that danger. Was it a save We need a replay and yes it is a solid save by the brilliant V. Vanasch.

Q2, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): As we say that, a good move by India down the right and the chance is wide of goal... a lovely high ball from India then and Jarmanpreet does brilliantly to control it and win a PC.

Q2, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Five minutes of this quarter have gone by without nothing much to report. Decent stuff from both sides but more solid than spectacular.

End of Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): SUPERB COUNTER. Vivek sets India off with a lovely pass from defence, nice combo down the left but the final pass is not perfect.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Jugraj with a long ball through the center and Mandeep nearly gets his stick on it for a superb finish but it is dealt with by the BEL defence,

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Mandeep and Vivek combine well down the left to find Jarmanpreet down the right but he can’t control the cross.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): A green card for Poncelet, two mins off the pitch.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): CHANCE INDIA! Jarmanpreet with a superb cross from right, Sukhjeet does well to find space but the shot is high. That was a solid chance but needed a better, more composed finish. Rushed a bit.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Less intense start compared to yesterday overall, maybe not great for us as fans or followers, but the coaches will be pleased. Both teams doing the basics right so far.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Wasted PC by Belgium, but also a wasted counter from India. Lalit could have made a 2v2 into a 1v1 but his pass is all wrong.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Friendly fire from India. Under pressure in defence, Sreejesh saves with his foot but pushes the ball into the his defender’s foot. PC for Belgium.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Chance for Belgium, after Rohidas loses the ball close to his own goal. Caught on possession, Belgium with a shot on goal, goes just wide.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Belgium have started with much more control in possession.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Quick vertical lines from Belgium (and we saw this in the women’s match too) but the Indian defence deal with it well. Harmanpreet clears the lines.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Men): Huddles done, national anthems done, we are good to go!

Coach Graham Reid: (On Arthur van Doren’s absence) No tactic change, probably just makes our job harder because someone will want to fill his shoes. From our point of view, we will be going out... very happy with our performance yesterday. We could have scored a lot more and perhaps BEL felt thee same way. It was a very good yesterday, tight but also opportunities were created. So today’s going to be another tough match, of course. Looking forward.

If we get a match nearly as good as last night, we will be in for a thriller. Here’s a look at the recent H2H.

Belgium 3-3 India (men)- Recap of last night

At the start of the match India was in second place and Belgium in third position in the FIH Pro League, so this was always going to be closely contested.

The match opened with a scintillating first 30 minutes of action. India could have taken the lead early on when Akashdeep volleyed the ball into the side netting but it was his team mate Shamsher Singh who scored the opening with a brilliantly excuted goal in the 18th minute.

Led by golakeeper Loic van Doren, Belgium weathered a storm of India attacking moves and then started to create their own chances. The efforts were rewarded in the 21st minute when a quick break by Belgium got behind the India defence. Cedric Charlier scored a cracking goal after a pass from Tom Boon found the midfielder lurking in front of the goal and able to steer it past PR Sreejesh in the India goal. 

Just before the halftime break Arthur van Doren left the field with an injury and played no further part in the game. 

The second half really burst into goal-scoring life. Simon Gougnard put Belgium into a 2-1 lead with a neatly taken tip-in, then Nicholas de Kerpel was on hand to send home a drag flick from a penalty corner. At 51 minutes and with a 3-1 lead, belgium might have expected to take all three points but India are a team who play to the final whistle.

A penalty stroke (won by a superb driving run by Manpreet) gave Harmanpreet a chance to extend his goal scoring figures in the FIH Pro League and he made no mistake. Then, with just two minutes left on the clock, Jarmanpreet got hold of a penalty corner drag flick and sent a rocket of a shot past Loic van Doren in the Belgium goal. 

In the shoot-out, India were clinical as they scored all five attempts to Belgium’s four.

Player of the Match PR Sreejesh (IND), said: ‘That was a great come back from my teammates. They never gave up. Tomorrow it is all about the energy, they are a great side and they will utilise any opportunities so we have to stay energetic all the time.’

The results mean that India are in second place in the league, one point ahead of Belgium and two points behind Netherlands.

— via FIH

The Indian men’s team were on the field as this match came to a close. Not far away from pushback for that. Join us shortly.

Janneke Schopman: Right now, not so much (disappointed with two defeats). The World Cup is our big goal and we use these games to see if we need to make changes to our game plan and maybe we play a little bit too open, maybe play little bit more defensively. You these are all games that help us to decide to best tactics can be at the World Cup and same for our selection. We didn’t play our strongest lineup here as well.

FULL TIME, Belgium 5-0 India (Women) 4-0 in a superb first half for Belgium but India came back well in the 2nd half it must be said, a much more even battle. They had their chances too, with a goal being ruled out. Like we had said at half time, India must treat the 2nd half as a separate game of sorts and it finished 0-1, could easily have been 1-1. A look at the stats will tell you it wasn’t too much gloom and doom for the Indians.

FULL TIME, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Ambre nearly makes it 6 with the last action of the day. It’s been a great performance by the hosts. But a good second half for India.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): It’s a hit from Deep Grace and it is just wide! Close.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): PC for India, good review. Can they finish on a high here?

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): 70 seconds to go, good pressure from India on 10-women of BEL. Navneet and co think there is a case for a PC here. Review by India

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Great defending by India there and then they come down the right to attack... this is an even battle.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): An yellow to with a green and Belgium are down to 9 briefly (and 10 for a while more). India need to try and make the most of it.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): A green card for Belgium, can India make something out of this. 5 mins and a bit more to go.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): More evidence of Sharmila’s blistering pace as she flies through the left flank and cuts back well but Belgium stay tight.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Oh nearly a superb counter by Belgium but Gurjit does enough on defence with a last ditch dive.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): More defensive pressure on India and they are handling it better now. And clearly Belgium have tried to change their tempo. Ambre misses a chance at far post, due to the bounce.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Another solid review by Belgium to win a PC but Bichu and Co keep that one out. Monika doing her work on the post.

Q4, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Start of Q4. Belgium might seek a response as well after that quarter. Bichu is back in goal now.

End of Q3,Belgium 5-0 India (Women): That was the best 15 minutes India have played this weekend I think. Some really nice combinations going forward, and using the pace of Navneet, Sharmila, Salima, Monika et al.

Q3, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Monia and Sharmila combine superbly with Vandana and it is another chance created. These moments will please Janneke, says Sjoerd. Janneke has spoken a fair bit about quick combinations. Once again on show shortly after and Navneet gets the shot away. Saved! Super little phase for the Indians.

Q3, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Gurjit gets the shot away and it is saved well. But good phase offensively for India this.

Q3, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Navneet has been quite good this quarter. She sets up another move, dribbling past a flurry of defenders and Monika-Sonika combine to win a PC.

Q3, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): Nisha gets a smack on the face and Sjoerd’s reaction on air is “Oh s**t” and his co-commentator apologises for the language. (Not sure that is needed, to be honest) but that looked a bit nasty. But Nisha walks off OK.

Q3, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): GOAL India... but ruled out. Sharmila didn’t stop the ball before playing on. It was a great move after that with Sharmila and Navneet combining to score but the review overrules it.

Q3, Belgium 5-0 India (Women): GOAL BELGIUM! India built a nice counterattack but Belgium respond with a quick move and a goal by Ballenghien. It’s been a struggle for the Indian defence today. They haven’t been able to control the Belgium offence.

Q3, Belgium 4-0 India (Women): Sjoerd – “I call Salima, the Ferrari and Sharmila, the Porsche”. Both are involved in a superb counterattack. But the ball runs out of play.

Q3, Belgium 4-0 India (Women): Good high pressure from India to start this Q3.

India coach Janneke at half time: We are doing some things we are doing better than yesterday. I can look at the scoreline but also some of the things what we are doing on the field. I am happy with some things, but we need to create a little bit more and that’s what I want to see. They have just been very clinical today (BEL) and it is tough when that happens. If we can defend a little bit tighter and more urgency in defence, we hope to keep them further way from goal.

Half time stats: Had said earlier it feels like Belgium look like scoring every time they enter India’s circle and 13 shots from 13 circle entries sums up the kind of half they had. Very efficient to average a shot per entry (not technically a shot every time they came forward but you get the drift).

HALF TIME: Belgium 4-0 India (Women) An interesting half time team talk for Janneke Schopman. She has made it clear that these Pro League matches are to build the squad up for World Cup but she also comes across as someone who hates losing. That half will not have gone down well with her. She called yesterday’s result disappointing when India were actually more competitive. A response would be nice now even if damage limitation, even if it means a 0-0, 1-1 kind of half.

HALF TIME: Belgium 4-0 India (Women)

Q2, Belgium 4-0 India (Women): Belgium ball with 30 seconds left for half time.

Q2, Belgium 4-0 India (Women): 90 seconds left and India, if I am not wrong, finally have their first PC. Gurjit is on the field for this but Marijne reckons the injection wasn’t best. Not converted.

Q2, Belgium 4-0 India (Women): Good use of referral by Belgium, win a PC but India rush well and it is wide anyway.

Q2, Belgium 4-0 India (Women): Probably the best phase on ball for India and it has come far too late in the match. Five mins to go in this half, can they get on board?

Q2, Belgium 4-0 India (Women): GOAL BELGIUM! That Deep tackle and the PC leads to a goal and Vanden Borre adds to India’s misery with her drag flick. Scored to Bichu’s right.

Q2, Belgium 3-0 India (Women): Sjoerd Marijne, once again on commentary duties for this one, had noted a point earlier that India are constantly reacting on defence instead of seeing plays before they happen. And Deep Grace gets a green card as she is slow to a tackle. PC for India to defend.

Q2, Belgium 3-0 India (Women): Abi Raye is officially the goalscorer.

Q2, Belgium 3-0 India (Women): Bichu being kept really busy in goal. The Indian youngster is having to face serious heat between the posts.

Q2, Belgium 3-0 India (Women): GOAL BELGIUM! Bichu in goal and she is called in to action early. Makes a couple of saves but eventually the ball is squeezed in. Tough to say who got the touch but it is given to... actually not clear yet who’s scored that.

Q2 starts. The defensive rustiness (more changes today too) is showing for India once again. These matches are not about the results for sure, for sure. But India will want to improve in that aspect. Save-ita doing well, Belgium could have been 3 or 4-0 up already.

End of Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): Save-ita again! THIS IS SUPERB. This was going in if Savita didn’t get her left foot across in time as Belgium come from the left flank and cut the cross in.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): Save-ita! A dribble through the heart of Indian defence, a low shot not far away from Savita but she still had to be alert with her footwork.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): Akshata gets a green card and India have to finish Q1 with 10.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): Less than 5 mins to go, better from India going forward. Good pressure in Belgium’s half, couple of half chances created.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): GOAL BELGIUM... but it is overturned! Gurjit was just a bit slow as Ambre goes ahead and scores. But India review and there is foot in the build-up, it is overruled. Gurjit must have seen that. But still India are just too sluggish in defence today.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): It goes through Savita’s feet but just enough deflection to take it past the post.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): Belgium use referral to win another PC.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): Savita comes to save well, but India concede a PC. Every time Belgium come forward, it feels like they can score.

Q1, Belgium 2-0 India (Women): GOAL BELGIUM! Well, that’s a nightmare start for India. There was a quick huddle after the goal was conceded, they attack again but pretty much in the next real attacking move, Belgium score again. Charlotte ENGLEBERT with a powerful finish from the left channel.

Q1, Belgium 1-0 India (Women): GOAL BELGIUM! Barbara NELEN., much like yesterday, has scored early. India a bit standoffish in defence and the ball comes to Nelen at the far post.

Q1, Belgium 0-0 India (Women): Good attacking start by India.

The national anthems are done, the toss is done, and we’re ready for play in Antwerp.

India coach Janneke Schopman: We had a very good debrief, the girls were not happy with their performance. They had their own meeting, after that we watched some video and hope we can improve. We didn’t own the ball enough and create opportunities. Want us to be a little more dynamic and come in the circle a bit more.

17.33: A look at the recent H2H between these two sides.

17.28: Rani Rampal -presumably gets a rest today after having made her comeback yesterday from a long layoff. Gurjit Kaur is back in the starting XI. Sharmila Devi will also be in the mix today.

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.

First up today, is once again the Belgium vs India (women’s) match in Antwerp.

Belgium 2-1 India (women)- Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp (BEL)

Belgium took an early lead in the third minute when Barbara Nelen picked up a ball passed into the circle by Louise Versavel and hit it first time past Savita in the India goal.

That lead was extended in the 35th minute though a piece of great finishing by Ambre Ballenghien. The ball was fired into the circle and Ballenghien was in a great position to touch it goalwards.

India knew they had to win or draw this game in order to prevent Argentina winning the FIH Pro League and, when Lalremsiami scored in the 48th minute, everything seemed possible. The striker used great one-on-one skills to take the ball past Aisling D’Hooghe to reduce the deficit. India really put their foot on the accelerator and created a heap of opportunities, including a chance in which Rani, who celebrated her 250th international cap, came close to evening things up. Through the onslaught, the Belgium defence stood firm.

— via FIH Media

Screenshots in the blog courtesy: FIH Media / Disney+Hotstar