Belgium, Germany enter quarterfinals of Hero Junior Hockey World Cup
New Delhi: Riding on Maxime Plennevaux`s double strike in the last 10 minutes of the match, Belgium posted a come-from-behind 2-2 draw against Pakistan to qualify for quarterfinals while Germany thrashed Egypt 6-0 to make the cut at the Hero Junior Men`s Hockey World Cup here on Tuesday.
Belgium, who got seven points by virtue of two victories and a draw from three games, emerged Pool A winners and will now take on France, the Pool B runners-up, in the quarterfinals on Thursday, while defending champions Germany will be up against Pool B toppers Australia.
In the first match of Pool A at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium today, Niklas Bruns and Christopher Ruhr scored twice to enable Germany blanked Egypt with a tennis-like score to their Pool A engagement on a six points from three outings.
Germany`s victory by a huge margin meant Pakistan needed to not just a win their last league encounter against Belgium but also required to win by 11 goals difference in order to make it to the quarterfinals.
So, even before the start of their match, it was as good as over for Pakistan.
Despite being virtually out of the quarterfinal contention, the Pakistanis started on a positive note. In fact, they played much better as compared to their previous two league matches and pushed Belgium on to the backfoot in the initial 15 minutes of the match.
Even though they took maximum control of the ball, Pakistan could not get past Belgian goalkeeper Arnaud Flamand and both teams started to neutralize each other in midfield. And it was a clean slate at the halfway mark.
In the second half, Pakistan took an early lead as Muhammad Dilber netted the ball through a field goal in the 41st minute.
Two minutes later, Pakistan had a chance to increase their lead after they earned a penalty corner but failed to convert it, courtesy a brilliant save by the Belgian goalkeeper.
After a few minutes, Pakistani goalkeeper displayed a similar show as that of his Belgian counterpart, making an excellent save to deny the European team from scoring the equaliser.
In 54th minute, Faisal Muhammad Qadir scored another field goal to double Pakistan`s lead.
Things began to look bleak for Belgium and they desperately tried to come back into the game. They finally managed to get the desired results in the 60th minute when Plennevaux stole a pass from a defender and blasted a backhand shot in the corner of the goalpost.
After five minutes, Plennevaux hit the board once again with another field goal to score the equaliser.
The draw with the help of two late goals helped Belgium finish their league encounters on the top of Pool A.
Earlier in the day, Germany needed nothing less than a victory to have a chance of entering the last eight stage of the tournament and they made their intentions clear from the very beginning.
In the fourth minute itself, they took the lead although with a little help from an Egyptian defender deflecting into his own goal.
Germany then doubled their tally in the 19th minute when Bruns scored a field goal with an easy deflection over the line after a quick exchange of passes in the circle.
The Germans continued to control the proceedings but failed to score any more goals and it was 2-0 at half time.
Germany missed a couple of chances in the opening minutes of second half and could not capitalise from two early penalty corners.
But Ruhr managed to widen the gap in the 42nd minute before captain Mathias Muller converted a penalty corner in the 52nd minute.
Ruhr and Bruns hit the board twice more to finish with a 6-0 scoreline.