Belgium shot their way into the semi-final thanks to a six-goal performance against Ireland
Belgium shot their way into the semi-final thanks to a six-goal performance against Ireland
(Photo: Grant Treeby)

Friday’s Line-up
Placement: Ireland vs. Spain – 12:30
Placement: India vs. France – 14:30
Semi-Final: Belgium vs. New Zealand – 17:00
Semi-Final: Australia vs. Netherlands – 20:00

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Belgium – Ireland 6-3 (2-1 halftime)

Belgium became the first men’s team at the Rabobank Hockey World League tournament to qualify for the semi-final game after they out-powered Ireland in a goal-filled 6-3 victory.

Belgium out-played Ireland in the first half but only took away a slim one-goal lead at the break. The scoring started with two Dutch goals coming less than a minute apart Loick Luypaert scored on a drag flick penalty corner and Thomas Briels followed up with a field goal on the ensuing trip downfield.

The Irish had luck on their side when they were able to cut the lead in half at the break when Chris Cargo scored in the last minute on a penalty corner play that left the Belgians with little to show for their strong first-half performance.

It was Belgium’s turn to be lucky as they climbed ahead 3-1 five minutes into the second half when a ball that was fired into the D bounced off Irish captain Ronan Gormley for the own goal. But the Irish quickly recovered from the shock, scoring their second penalty corner goal of the game when John Jackson fired in a top-shelf shot.

After the initial flurry, the goals started rolling in on both sides. With three goals coming in a seven-minute span. Belgium emerged from the offensive showdown on top with a 6-3 lead thanks to goals from Sebastien Dockier and Tom Boon. Boon’s goal was one of the best of the tournament as his sprawling dive on a breakawaywas just enough for him to get his stick on the ball for the marker.

Belgium will face the winner of the New Zealand vs. Spain game in Friday’s semi-final game. Meanwhile, Ireland will look to finish as high as possible to try to keep their World Cup hopes alive. Their next test in that quest is the loser of the New Zealand vs. Spain.

 

New Zealand – Spain 1-0 (1-0 halftime)

New Zealand earned a berth in Friday’s Semi-Final game at the Rabobank Hockey World League tournament in Rotterdam by the slimmest of margins with a 1-0 win against Spain.

New Zealand dominated the game early on and was rewarded when Hugo Inglis was fed a picture perfect pass on a breakaway and scored the 1-0 goal. But after the early success there was complete silence from both sides of the field as the win stayed tantalizingly out of reach for the Spaniards and the loss stayed too close for comfort for the Black Sticks.

Spain rallied late in the game with at least four penalty corner chances in the last 15 minutes. It even looked like they might get a last-gasp chance after time expired when a potential penalty corner went to video review, but that was denied along with Spain’s bid to finish in the top-four of the event.

New Zealand will take on Belgium in the critical semi-final round. The winner of that game will be guaranteed a spot in the World Cup.