5 goals, 3 points, 1 dream still alive as host India grabs massive win.
It was all joy and excitement inside the 15000 packed Kalinga Hockey Stadium as the 2018 Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar commenced.
The attraction and main focus of the day was the second match involving host India and African giants, South Africa. With a world cup triumph in their minds after last winning it four decades ago, the Boys sent a message across with a 5-0 victory over South Africa. Belgium also managed a slim victory over Canada.
It was the Red lions of Belgium (FIH Hero World Ranking: 3) and Canada (WR:11) who rolled down the curtains for this year’s world cup. An outstanding first quarter saw the Red Lions take an early lead courtesy Felix Denayer in the third minute before Thomas Briels had a goal ruled out by the video umpire. Briels was not to be denied for the second time getting his name on the scoresheet mid-way through the second quarter courtesy a Match Arthur Van Doren assist.
Canada finally found their way as the game progressed and were rewarded with a goal inside the fourth quarter from Mark Pearson’s stick. However, the Belgians remained calm to keep the scoreline 2-1 at the blast of the final whistle.
Host India (WR:5) dominated the opening stages of their match against South Africa (WR:15) and earned a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Mandeep Singh getting the opener before Akashdeep Singh doubled the lead. South Africa managed to hold the host in the second quarter but India added two more goals in the third quarter with Simranjeet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay putting the hosts into a commanding 4-0 lead. Odisha Player of the Match Simranjeet grabbed his brace from a penalty corner in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring, giving the crowd one final opportunity to enjoy the fireworks show that greeted every goal scored on the opening day.
The competition continues on Thursday 29 November with Argentina (WR:2) facing Spain before the Black Sticks of New Zealand (WR:9) go head-to-head with France (WR:20), a team returning to World Cup action for the first time in 28 years.