Belgium and GBR become spoilers for their final dream
Image Credits: FIH/Getty Images
In the last pool match of the 2016 version of the prestigious Champions Trophy, Belgium was stopped by a late rise from the GBR team which though didn’t turn the tide in favor of the English side to sail through to the finale.
Belgium which was looking well in control to win the match with 2 or more goals, a condition that suited the teams chances of qualifying for the finals, got a setback late in the match when GBR came back from 1-3 scorecard to end the match on a respectable 3-3 draw.
The draw meant it was India which qualified for the finale to be played on Friday against the strong title contenders, Kookaburras. Another possibility that preset had for the two teams was a GBR win which could take them to the finals- as they were better on goals when compared to India.
So- the thrill the game brought as it was something sort of most crucial match of the tournament, and also for the competition that happened during the match could easily rate it higher than some of the finale encounters over the years.
In the end, it was none- as winner of the thrilling game, the two teams played out a dramatic 3-3 draw, the Red Lions started off in a great mode taking the match to 1-0 till almost the half time- though just 5 minutes before the break Barry Middleton equalised with a penalty corner deflection.
The Belgium team got geared up for the challenge as Loick Luypaert drag flicked twice, one before and the other after break to take the scorecard to 3-1 lead over hosts. One more goal, and the goal difference could take them to the finals, something that couldn’t happen as GBR’s decision to replace goalkeeper with an outfield player with six minutes remaining proved significant, with David Ames and Barry Middleton tying the match.
Speaking about the match, Harry Martin of the hosts said “I think we’ll look back on that match and think it was really one that we should have won, I think we controlled large parts of it and obviously it got pretty crazy towards the end. In the end we were pleased with a draw, but we definitely wanted a lot more from that match.”
The hosts will next compete with the last version’s Champions in a Bronze medal match on the concluding day of the Champions Trophy.