India looked poised to enter their first Olympic semi-final in 36 years but they were halted by a rampant Belgian side, who ran riot in the third quarter. Akashdeep Singh scored first to put India in the lead in the first quarter. Belgium wilted for the first two quarters before finding their groove in the third. Sebastien Dockier scored twice and Tom Boon added a third in the final quarter to down India 3-1 on Sunday.
The first quarter was cagey and the intensity shown by both teams was encouraging. There were no clear cut opportunities for either side. India's defence showed that they meant business as the Belgian attacks were broken down at will.
Just as time was running out in the first quarter, the Belgians were stunned. India took the lead with Akashdeep Singh deflecting a pass into the net. The athletic Belgians ran hard but Sardar Singh made all the difference. The former Indian captain covered plenty of ground on the left and kept the Belgian forwards from causing any damage.
Sardar Singh drove forward with purpose and won plenty of crucial interceptions. India's intensity never dropped at any point though, and they nearly doubled their lead just before the interval. Akashdeep Singh tried a beautiful reverse and the ball just went wide of goal on the left.
Sreejesh pulled off a blinder of a save but Belgium equalised seconds later. Sebastien Dockier was causing problems to the Indian backline throughout the the first two quarters. The goal certainly propelled the Belgians, who picked themselves up.
Sreejesh was tested yet again and he was up to the task, making a couple of marvellous saves in quick time. Towards the end of the third quarter, Dockier scored again. India's hopes firmly bit the dust when Tom Boon scored Belgium's third, 10 minutes from time. Roelant Oltmans took off Sreejesh and went for broke from there but Belgium had little trouble holding on to their lead.