Tokyo Olympics: Mighty Belgium Thump India 5-2 In SFs, Men In Blue To Play For Bronze


Manpreet Singh-led Indian team faced a heart-breaking 5-2 defeat against World Champions Belgium in a thrilling and brilliant Tuesday’s semifinal. The Men in Blue failed to secure a historic final berth and a first-ever Olympic medal since the1980 Moscow Games. Both teams played at a blistering pace but in the end, mighty Belgium emerged victorious. 

India will now play for the bronze medal match against the loser of the second semi-final match between Australia and Germany.

India, winner of 8 Olympic gold medals, failed to avenge their 2016 Rio Olympics defeat against Belgium. The World Champions had then put an end to Inidia’s campaign by defeating them 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

Over the past decade, Belgium have dominated the sport since 2011 as in a gap of just 10 years, they have won an Olympic medal, World Cup and European Championship.

Belgium started off on a great note. An early goal from Belgium put pressure on India. Loic Luyaert scored off a penalty corner in just the second minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead just 70 seconds into the contest.

Few minutes later, India made an epic comeback to equalise the score, courtesy a ferocious drag-flick from captain Harmanpreet Singh to pull India level and make it 1-1.

Things turned around for India in a span of just two minutes as Mandeep Singh’s stunning backhand shot into the right corner powered India to a 2-1 lead in just eight minutes of play in the first quarter. India continued to fiercely penetrate the Belgian defence.

Fans witnessed an epic first quarter. The Men in Blue hit back through back-to-back goals from captain Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh after Belgium’s Luypaert early goal in just 70 seconds into the play.

In the breathtaking second quarter, Belgium started creating some pressure on India. After missing back-to-back penalty corners (PCs), tournament top-scorer Alexander Hendrickx converted the 5th PC into a goal to level the score 2-2. At halftime, both the teams are locked at 2-2.

With just 11 minutes left for the play, Hendrickx pushed another unstoppable penalty corner into the India goal.

In the last quarter, India were down to ten players after a green card two minute suspension for India captain Manpreet Singh. Taking advantage of this, Belgium immediately headed forward to win a crucial penalty corner.

With just over 7 minutes left to play, Hendrickx completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot to give Belgium a two goal lead and it was all over for India. John-John Dohmen passed into an open goal with six seconds left to push his team to a 5-2 lead and keep India at bay to the Olympics finals was not spoiled.

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