Indian men’s hockey team finally got its act together when it mattered, converting two penalty corners and keeping the nerves intact during the shootout to storm into the semifinals of the FIH Hockey World League Final (HWLF) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. India beat Rio Olympics silver medallists Belgium 3-2 in a shootout after the scores remained tied 3-3 in regulation time. India scored by Gurjant Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (PC) and Rupinder Pal Singh (PC), while the Belgians scored via Loick Luypaert (2 goals) and Cedric Charlier.India, who had an inconsistent run in the pool stages of the HWLF, finished bottom of Pool B with one point from their three matches. Belgium, on the other hand, has been in prime form, topping Pool A with nine points. However, the hosts played on a different plane against Belgium, as evident by the result. Get highlights of the FIH Hockey World League Final, India vs Belgium quarterfinal here.
9:13 pm IST: And the Belgian shootout taker misses the goal. India is through to the semifinals of the Hockey World League Final with a 3-2 shootout victory over Belgium. The scores were tied 3-3 at regulation time.
9:12 pm IST: Harmanpreet scores for India, lead 3-2.
9:11 pm IST: Akashdeep misses his shootout attempt. 2-2.
9:10 pm IST: Sumit misses his shootout attempt, while Belgium score again. Scores tied 2-2 now.
9:09 pm IST: Belgium finally scores in the shootout. Score now 2-1 in favor of India.
9:07 pm IST: Rupinder Pal Singh scores India’s third attempt, lead 2-0 in the shootout.
9:06 pm IST: India goalkeeper makes a brilliant save. Belgium has missed all three of their shootout attempt. India lead 1-0
9:05 pm IST: India takes a 1-0 lead in the shootout.
8:58 pm IST: It’s 3-3 at regulation time. Shootout to decide who will progress into the semifinals.
8:55 pm IST: India safe after the Belgian drag flick hits one of their own player’s feet. 3-3 with just two minutes left to play in the match.
8:54 pm IST: Belgium earns another penalty corner. Danger lurking for India.
8:53 pm IST: Belgium waste the chance after failing to trap the penalty corner push. Indians scramble and clear the ball only to see the Europeans attack again. 3-3 with three minutes to play.
8:52 pm IST: Belgium gets a penalty corner.
8:49 pm IST: Suddenly, Belgium seems to have taken control of the tempo of the match and are making patient build-ups. The score is 3-3 with five minutes left to play in the match.
8:48 pm IST: Belgium score, This time through a field goal from Cedric Charlier.
8:45 pm IST: The Belgians are showing urgency now. Indians are not sitting back either. A goal’s lead is too little in hockey and there is still nine minutes of play left in the match. India lead 3-2.
8:42 pm IST: The two Indian penalty corner specialists have found the target against Belgium. India leads 3-2 with 12 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
8:40 pm IST: India gets a penalty corner of their own. and retake the lead via a powerful strike from Rupinder Pal Singh.
8:37 pm IST: Belgium gets a penalty corner at the start of the fourth and final quarter. And they equalize, through Loick Luypaert.
8:32 pm IST: Referee shows the green card to Sanuvanda Uthappa. India is playing a man short now, leading 2-1 with two minutes to go in the third quarter.
8:26 pm IST: Belgium get a goal back, Loick Luypaert converting the penalty corner. India lead 2-1.
8:25 pm IST: Belgium earns a penalty corner, nine minutes into the third quarter.
8:23 pm IST: A video of Australia’s Matt Dawson speaking about his side’s 4-1 win over Spain in the first quarterfinal match earlier in the day:
8:21 pm IST: India scores again — this time off a penalty corner. Harmanpreet Singh finds the target as the hosts take a 2-0 lead. Indians are on a roll in the third quarter.
8:17 pm IST: India strike in the opening exchanges of the second half (third quarter). Akashdeep made the interception in front of the Belgian D, before passing it to Gurjant Singh, who squared it again. After a goalmouth melee, Gurjant tapped the ball in. India lead 1-0.
8:15 pm IST: The second half (third quarter) is set to begin. India will be hoping their striker, Akashdeep Singh, who is playing his 150th match for the national team, celebrates it with some magic on the field. 0-0 the score
8:10 pm IST: The possession stat speaks volumes about India’s tactic in the match against Belgium. They have been quick to counter, while the Europeans have tried to build their moves from midfield.
8:06 pm IST: India 0-0 Belgium at half-time in Kalinga stadium. Interesting match stats for though. India has had four shots on goal while Belgium had just one. However, the Belgians have had a whopping 67 percent possession.
7:59 pm IST: India attacks again from the right via a long ball. But Mandeep Singh’s attempt from the middle is pushed away by the Belgian goalkeeper. Scores are tied 0-0 with just three minutes left to play in the second quarter.
7:54 pm IST: A slight tweak information has resulted in India asking questions of the Belgian defense on the right flank, with Lalit making a couple of probing runs, including the one that resulted in the miss by Sunil.Scores remain 0-0 after five minutes into the second quarter.
of the 7:51 pm IST: Second quarter begins much like the first with India moving up the flank, this time from the right. However, SV Sunil’s tap-in attempt from the middle goes wide. 0-0
7:46 pm IST: There was some end-to-end action with both India and Belgium using the flanks to move up towards the end of the first quarter. After 15 minutes of play, scores are tied 0-0.
7:42 pm IST: Belgium finds the goal in the tenth minute of the match, but it is disallowed after a video referral. It’s 0-0 still.
7:35 pm IST: India win a penalty corner but the Belgian defense thwarts the weak drag flick. It’s 0-0 five minutes into the first quarter
7:33 pm IST: India try a long ball from deep defense, Lalit being the target man. But he fails to trap it.
7:32 pm IST: The match begins with India driving the ball up the left flank. However, SV Sunil fails to deflect the cross to the goal. 0-0 two minutes into the match.
7:25 pm IST: Five minutes away from the match. The players have lined up for the national anthems. Belgian anthem first
7:19 pm IST: India clearly starts as underdogs in the quarterfinal match against Belgium, the Rio Olympics silver medallists. The hosts have played well in patches in the tournament — managing just a point from three pool matches speak volumes about how badly Manpreet Singh and Co have fared so far. Belgium, on the other hand, are toppers of Pool A with three victories.
7:16 pm IST: The Hockey World League quarterfinal line-up. Australia beat Spain in the first match, India to play Belgium at 7:30 pm.
7:00 pm IST: Kalinga stadium is now roaring impatiently for the home team to come out in action against Belgium in the quarterfinals. The match is set to start at 7:30 pm.
6:46 pm IST: Some last-minute drama on the field with heated exchanges as Australia beat Spain 4-1 to enter the semifinals of the FIA Hockey World League Final. India vs Belgium quarterfinal up next at 7:30 pm.
6:35 pm IST: Another penalty corner, another clinical finish. Watching Aussies display their penalty-corner prowess, one is left to hope that the Indian PC specialists — Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh — come out with their scoring sticks in hand in the quarter-final against Belgium, set to start at 7:30 pm
6:34 pm IST: Blake Govers strikes again for Australia to make it 4-1 against Spain in the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal match.
6:32 pm IST: The floodgates seemed to have opened now. Australia scores again via a penalty corner to go 3-1 up in the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal match against Spain. Blake Govers scores with a clinical low drag flick to the right of the Spanish custodian.
6:29 pm IST: Australia has scored after winning a penalty corner. They lead Spain 2-1 in the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal match.
6:21 pm IST: The third quarter of the Spain vs Australia quarterfinal ends with the scores tied 1-1.
6:16 pm IST: Australia seems content to sit back and defend at the moment with Spain controlling the midfield trying to find an opening into the D. Scores are still tied 1-1 with three minutes to go in the third quarter of the first quarterfinal of the day.
6:06 pm IST: Australia gets a penalty corner in the fourth minute of the third quarter but the Spanish goalkeeper pads it out. 1-1 in the first quarterfinal of the day
6:04 pm IST: The third quarter of the Spain vs Australia quarterfinal match begins with both teams showing urgency to score. End to end stuff on cards. Score is still 1-1 after three minutes of play in the quarter
5:55 pm IST: It’s all square at a halftime in the first quarterfinal of the day — Spain 1 – 1 Australia.
5:52 pm IST: The whole of Kalinga Stadium is waiting for the home team to come out for their quarterfinal match against Belgium, no doubt. But the fans have been entertained by some fine hockey in the first quarterfinal of the day — Spain vs world champions Australia.
India, led by Manpreet Singh, began the tournament with a bang, holding world champions Australia to a 1-1 draw in their opening match. But that performance proved to be a one-off as their performance dipped from then on even as inconsistency — the bane of Indian hockey down the years — caught up with them. India ranked No 6 in the world, lost 2-3 to lower-ranked England.
India’s problems were many in the match against England — from losing track of the tempo to wasting penalty corners with the specialists — Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh — misfiring. Those problems just magnified against Germany, who eventually topped Pool B. India lost 0-2 in that match, wasting all four penalty corners that came their way.
India’s Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne is hoping to iron out the flaws even as he plans strategies to counter the Belgian juggernaut, which seems unstoppable at the moment.