Bhubaneswar, December 3: Last edition runners-up Belgium made a valiant fightback from two goals down to beat Spain 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out in a classification match of the FIH Junior Men's Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Friday (December 3).
Belgium will face Netherlands, who thrashed Malaysia 9-3 in another classification match, in the fifth-sixth play-off.
Spain made a rollicking start, stunning Belgium as early as in the fourth minute of the game by taking the lead through a penalty corner conversion by Pau Cunill. Cunill struck again in the 24th minute, this time from the spot to give Spain an unexpected 2-0 lead.
After the change of ends, Belgium meant business as they attacked in numbers and controlled the proceedings. Their efforts bore fruit in the 33rd minute when Jeremy Wilbers reduced the margin from a field effort.
Belgium continued to press hard and created a lot of scoring opportunities only to falter at the final hurdle. But just four minutes from the final hooter, Thibeau Stockbroekx (56th) scored a fine field goal to draw level and take the match into shoot-out.
In the shoot-out, Belgium scored through Roman Duvekot, Stockbroekx, Tobias Biekens and Wilbers, while Manuel Rodriguez and Borja Lacella missed for Spain.
In the second classification match of the day, Miles Bukkens (3rd, 38th and 60th) and Luke Dommershuijzen (4th, 14th, 34th) scored a hat-trick each while David Huussen (51st, 57th) struck a brace for the Netherlands.
The other goal for the Dutch side was hit by Max de Bie in the 37th minute.
Spain and Malaysia will now lock horns against each other in the seventh-eighth place play-off match on Sunday (December 5).