The Indian Junior Hockey team edged out Belgium 1-0 in the Junior Hockey World Cup quarterfinals. The Blue Colts converted a penalty corner to earn a hard fought win to progress to the last four of the tournament. Belgium created a lot of pressure, they had more circle penetrations, shots, possession and even more penalty corners but they could not find a way past the Indian goalkeeper.
India however emerged as victors as Shardanand Tiwari scored the solitary goal in their 1-0 win against Belgium. The Blue Colts came up with a routine penalty corner as Tiwari flicked the balls smartly high on the back of the net beating the Belgian goalkeeper.
Belgium created a lot of chances and in the final minutes, they threw the kitchen sink at the Indians. They were boosted by a yellow card suspension of Yashdeep Siwach late in the game. Just when things looked like going into the shoot-off, but Indian goalkeeper Pawan held his fort with sheer determination and denied Belgium from a late penalty corner. He made two great saves to deny the Belgians a place in the semifinals.
“With the plan we had, we tried to execute that but still a few things couldn’t happen”, said India’s Vishnukant Singh, who was named Player of the Match. “It was a really tough match. We cannot underestimate our opponents. Our plan was to win and it is important that we enjoy that.”
Belgian captain Dylan Engelbert shared how they played their heart out and with a little more luck he feels they would have scored the goal and forced the shoot-off. Engelbert said “We played a great game against India. I think it was beautiful to watch, great actions and we did our best. With a bit more luck we might have scored and gone to shoot-outs. Of course, we are disappointed, but I’m proud of my team and proud of what we did. I think we gave everything, and that is what we are happy [about].”
The Indian Men’s Junior team are looking to defend their title and now after winning against Belgium they will take on heavyweights Germany in the semifinals.