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Hockey World Cup 2023: Holders Belgium beat New Zealand 2-0 to enter in last-four

By Pti

Bhubaneswar, Jan 24: Defending champions Belgium booked semifinal spots in the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup after getting the better of New Zealand in the quarterfinal match here on Tuesday (January 24).

The holders Belgium did not face much problem in their 2-0 win over India's conqueror New Zealand in the second last-eight match of the day at the Kalinga Stadium.

Belgium suffered a jolt just before their quarterfinal match, as their star penalty corner expert Alexander Hendrickx was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after he twisted his knee in their final Pool B match against Japan on January 20.

Belgium now wait for the winner of Wednesday's (January 25) quarterfinal between England and Germany in the semifinals, while title contenders Australia will face the winner of the other last-eight match between the Netherlands and South Korea.

The Red Lions took some time to settle down but once they did that, the defending champions took control of the match as they scored a goal each in the first and second quarters.

They held on to the 2-0 first-half lead till the end of the match. Star forward Tom Boon opened the scoring for Belgium in the 11th minute from their first penalty corner.

New Zealand's defence was caught napping in the first minute of the second quarter. Simon Gougnard's cross from the right side of the 'D' went past at least two New Zealand defenders and Florent van Aubel was left unmarked to slam home for an easy goal in the 16th minute.

The third and fourth quarters did not yield any goal with Belgium doing most of the attacking while New Zealand defended their citadel well. The Black Sticks also mounted a few spirited challenges in the fourth quarter with some fine attacking moves but their last touch or deflection did not come.

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Story first published: Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 22:27 [IST]
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