Belgium achieved a magnificent 6/6 this weekend in the Pro League. Enough to confirm its evolution but above all the legitimate ambitions that the team has for the next World Cup which will start in 3 weeks in Spain and the Netherlands. Article reserved for subscribers
For their last meeting of the competition at home (they will still face England in London, next weekend, and the United States, in Den Bosch, the following week), the Panthers wanted to confirm their good performance on Saturday (2-1) against an Indian team which lined up 6 new players compared to the first duel. With Abi Raye and Elodie Picard in the group, they started the debates ideally since they already found the net after only 95 seconds via Barbara Nelen. Two minutes later, it was Charlotte Englebert who doubled her team’s lead following magnificent preparatory work and a precise backhand shot.
Belgium, now 6th in the world rankings (the highest place ever reached by the team) was therefore extremely efficient, unlike Saturday afternoon. In the 19th minute, on a new offensive, Barbara Nelen crossed and an Indian defender pushed the ball into the back of the net (and the goal was awarded to Abi Raye). The domination was total for the proteges of Raoul Ehren who scored number 4 on a powerful penalty from Stephanie Vanden Borre (23rd). Before the break, the Indians obtained a first pc but this one did not give anything.
In the second half, the Red Panthers resumed their march forward and continued to control the game by accelerating the tempo from time to time to try to score a new goal. And in the 36th minute, Ambre Ballenghien was well placed to deflect a cross from Alix Gerniers. At 5-0, the meeting seemed definitely bent especially since the 8th nation in the world seemed a little off its feet this Sunday. However, over the minutes, Belgium lost some of its hold on the debates and India showed itself to be more and more enterprising. In the last quarter of an hour, the Panthers still obtained several good opportunities, among others, for Ambre Ballengien.
Maintain consistency for 60 minutes
“We could even have scored more goals against India,” said Barbara Nelen, one of the Belgian captains. “It allows us to garner maximum confidence before the World Cup. We finally managed to be more consistent and that was one of the essential points to work on. We have to play 60 minutes hard and never release the pressure on our opponent. The selection will fall on Wednesday and this will bring a little more serenity to the group. We can then focus on the final details before the start of the World Tournament. We can’t wait to start the competition. We are quite confident in our possibilities and I think we can achieve something big this summer. We want to reach and show a level never reached by the Panthers. »
Next weekend, the group will travel to London to face England twice. Faced with the 4th nation in the world, Belgium will therefore have the opportunity to test themselves again against one of the candidates for the world title. An opportunity that Raoul Ehren will not miss to push his players a little more to surpass themselves in the very last straight line of preparation.