The Belgian U21 Red Lions started their Indian World Cup by making a first convincing win against South Africa. The objective will now be to ensure the qualification for the quarter-finals as quickly as possible while increasing in power to be ready for the choppy matches.
Convincing and dominant Red Lions
The men of Jeroen Baart started their tournament perfectly by winning, without the slightest difficulty, the inaugural match of this World Cup, in Bhubaneswar. Opposed to South Africa, they won 5-1 by largely dominating the debates and striking with regularity to control their domination with the scorer. It only took Roman Duvekot 7 minutes to find the net on a rebound from a penalty kick. The Antwerp player scored the very first goal of this World Cup and allowed the Young Red Lions to get started in the competition. But their opponents were quick to respond as Jacques van Tondeur equalized in a quarter of an hour from the penalty spot.
The Belgians remained calm but sometimes lacked realism in front of goal. And it was finally Nelson Onana who scored number 2 after a remarkable personal effort (24th). In the second half, Roman Duvekot, elected man of the match at the end of the debates, offered himself a double on a powerful backhand shot (45th). Belgium did not release the pressure and it is logically that it punctuated its performance with new achievements from Arno Van Dessel (55th) and Rik Van Cleynenbreugel (58th).
Patience and defensive rigor
The young Lions have therefore perfectly exploited the South African errors while offering an interesting and applied game. “We are quite satisfied with this start to the competition,” Nelson Onana admitted with a smile. “We know full well that we never enter a tournament as we have finished the previous ones. We will have to grow up and we will have to take it step by step. But with this great success, we are also sending a first message to the other teams. We remained very calm throughout the game and we avoided getting carried away. We have been patient and have demonstrated defensive rigor. We knew the opportunities were going to come and we seized them. I also admit that we were a little less creative on the penalty spot, that we have certainly lost a few beautiful animals when we could have smothered them with a little more rigor. But I repeat, we will grow in this World Cup. We have just set the bar to a first level and we will not be able to go below this one during the tournament. This match is worth a 6 or a 7 out of 10. For the rest, we will have to be patient and take care of the ball control. This is the DNA of Belgian hockey. ” This is the DNA of Belgian hockey. ” This is the DNA of Belgian hockey. “
A match scheduled for Friday, at 3:00 p.m. (Belgian time), which will also have to be won to already validate his ticket for the quarter-finals even before playing the last group match against Chile (Saturday). “Malaysia play a bit the same style of play as Argentina that we faced in the preparation match here in Bhubaneswar”, warns the Braxgata player. “It’s a more physical, more aggressive game and they like to play against attacks. It will therefore be essential to keep the ball well and to control their fast offensive conversions and blocks. We’ll have to play the game and prevent the game from turning into a ping-pong encounter. We naturally want to ensure our qualification for the quarter-finals as quickly as possible. Without wanting to be arrogant, we want to take part in the semi-finals. We have worked for this goal and we will have to do everything to achieve it. “
The staff will certainly draw many lessons from this first Indian outing and they will apply themselves to correcting certain details to further improve the performance of the Belgian team which finished vice-world champion in 2016, in Lucknow (India).