Belgium end Indian hockey team Rio Olympics campaign with 3-1 win: Akashdeep Singh gave India the lead in the 15th minute before Belgium pumped in three field goals from Sebastien Dockier (34th, 45th) and Tom Boon (50th) to dash India’s hopes.
India have had problems beating tougher opponents in major tournaments. At the Olympics, it was no different. They gave Germany and Holland a run for their money but a win eluded them. On Sunday, it seemed they were overawed by Belgium, giving them too much respect.
Eight-time gold medalist India, thus, blew away a great opportunity to create history after a hiatus of 36 years to climb the medal podium. Belgium, on the other hand, scripted history as they progressed to the semi-finals of the Olympics after a gap of 96 years.
Having topped Pool A, Belgium were the favourites to win the encounter and they played like champions dominating the proceedings for most part of the game barring a few minutes in the second quarter after India took the lead late in the first quarter.
The second half saw twin attacks from Thomas Briels being saved and missed in the 32nd minute, followed by the equalising goal in the 34th minute by Dockier, as another shot from the same man saw being saved in the 37th minute. The 42nd minute saw a green card for Raghunath Vokkaliga, who was sideline for three minutes, followed by a shot save for Emmanuel Stockbroekx in the 43rd minute, followed by another save for Tom Boon in the minute next.
For Brazil, it is pretty hard lined up ahead. They will face either reigning world champions Australia or last edition’s runners-up the Netherlands in the semi-final.
In the other last eight match, Argentina saw off a stiff competition from Spain with a 2-1 victory. Set-piece specialist Gonzalo Peillat gave the South Americans the lead in the 15th minute.
Spain equalised late through Pau Quemada in the 57th minute but Juan Gilardi sealed the win for Argentina with a field goal in the 59th minute.