Host India barged into the semi-finals by winning over Belgium by 3-2 in the sudden death round, as the quarterfinal match ended in 3-3 draw in stipulated time in the Odisha Hockey World League Final at Kalinga Stadium here today. Both teams tied at 3-3 at regulation time.
After Harmanpreet Singh scored the third one for the Indians in the shootout, Arthur van Doren equalised for the Belgians. India doubled their lead four minutes later from a penalty corner.
After three efforts it was 2-0 for India but Belgium roared back forcing sudden-death by scoring both of their two remaining efforts while India failed to convert. Belgium who never lost a single match in the league rounds entered the quarterfinal rounds.
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In the topsy-turvy shootout, Lalit Upadhyay, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet scored from India. SV Sunil had a chance to put India in the lead early in the first quarter off two brilliant crosses from Gurjant. "Hopefully, we will now play with more energy and win the semi-final".
SV Sunil who hit a blinder to Belgium goal post, the goalkeeper blocked it, but before the defence line clear the ball out of the danger zone, Gurjant made the score for India. But Harmanpreet Singh's shot went straight to the Belgian goalkeeper.
The Belgian, who were unbeaten in the pool stage, had two great chances in the form of two penalty corners at the far end of the match to score the victor but the Indians defended well to take the game into shoot-out. Rupinder Pal Singh scored a penalty corner to give India a 3-2 lead but a deflected goal from Belgium's Amaury Keusters took the score to 3-3 and forced the match into a thrilling shoot-out. The hosts drew with world champions Australia, before losing to England and Germany.
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