Pakistan’s World Cup campaign ends after crushing 0-5 defeat to Belgium

Vastavam web: Pakistan’s miserable campaign at the men’s hockey World Cup finally came to an end after Olympic silver medallists Belgium thrashed the four-time champions 5-0 in the third cross-over match at the Kalinga Stadium here on Tuesday. Staring the match as favourites, the Red Lions toyed with the Pakistani defence which somehow managed to hold on in the opening 10 minutes. But once Alexander Hendricks (10th minute) converted a penalty corner, the Pakistani defence broke apart and gates opened up for Belgium. Besides, Hendricks, skipper Thomsa Briels (13th), Cedric Charlier (27th), Sebastian Dockier (35th) and Tom Boon (53rd) were the other goal getters for Belgium.

While Pakistan will pack their bags and return home, Belgium will take Germany in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Belgium’s first scoring chance came from the very first move in the form of a penalty corner but the Pakistani defence did enough to thwart the danger. Belgium kept up the pressure on the fragile Pakistani defence and secured back-to-back penalty corners in the 10th minute, the second of which was converted by Hendricks with a powerful low flick to the left corner of the goal.

Three minutes later, Belgium doubled their lead through skipper Briels, who deflected in after being set up by Nicols de Kerpel’s fine work pass from the right flank. The final pass was lacking from the Pakistanis as a result of which their build-ups hardly troubled the Belgian defence. Pakistan earned their first penalty corner in the 16th minute but wasted the opportunity while opting for a variation. Minutes later Ali Shan’s reverse hit from inside the box sailed over the Belgium goal.

The missed chances hurt Pakistan as Belgium extended their lead three minutes from half time through Charlier whose reverse hit from a tight angle found the back of the net after a getting a slight deflection of Pakistani skipper Ammad Butt’s sticks. While Belgium wasted two more penalty corners in the third quarter, Pakistan too got a short corner but Ali Mubashar’s attempt went wide.