Belgium into World Cup crossover games after win over South Africa

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics



Belgium are destined for the crossover games as they ended up to second to India in Pool C on goal difference following a shoot-out on Saturday.

In the opening game, South Africa took just 35 seconds to go in front when Nick Spooner gathered the ball from a fantastic pitch-splitting pass from Rhett Halkett and slammed into the corner of Vincent Vanasch's goal.

However, Shane McLeod's Red Lions fought back quickly when Alexander Hendrickx scored two penalty corner goals and Simon Gougnard and Loick Luypaert also weighed in with goals for a 4-1 lead.

Belgium needed a big win to put pressure on India in the goalscoring stakes but they could not push on too much further with only Cedric Charlier’s goal for 5-1 adding to the total.

Waterloo Ducks Gougnard was named player of the match and he said afterwards: "I don't think we put enough pressure on India tonight. We started poorly and we didn't put enough pressure on South Africa throughout the match.

“We made a lot of stupid mistakes in the game. There is a lot for us to look back over and which we will work on. We must also work on our structure and try to reduce the number of turnovers during a game. Our penalty corner worked well, so we are quite pleased with that aspect of the game."

Belgium captain Thomas Briels added: “We did not start so well tonight but we played better and better. I think that’s a bit the difference with the first two games where we started really good but could not keep up our performances.

“So that’s really good to see. In the end we could have scored more goals if we would have been a bit more smart. During this first round, we played some really good hockey but we were not really consistent, so we have to analyse that and we can improve for the next round.”

It meant a win of any sort would give India top spot. The game was in the balance at 1-1 when Floris van Son equalised in the second half, making it level going into the final quarter.

But India soon raced away with four quickfire goals to win 5-1 and go straight through to the quarter-finals.

Today, Germany will look to secure top spot in the group with a draw or better against Malaysia while the Netherlands taking on Pakistan to secure their place in at least the crossovers.