The Belgian players did not let the suspense hang over their play-off match against Chile. They offered their best performance of this World Cup (5-0) in order to validate their ticket for the quarter-finals against the Netherlands. Article reserved for subscribers
Three days after their last group match, and a trip to the Netherlands, the Belgian players were ready to tackle this first meeting with a knife in their World Cup. A trap duel against Chile in the round of 16 of the competition with the objective of mandatory qualification for the quarterfinals given the objectives previously set in this world tournament. But the Red Panthers had every intention of not being manipulated in this meeting against a passionate and enthusiastic team for their very first participation in this great meeting.
Yet it was the South Americans who took the initiative and who also obtained the first dangerous possibility of the game. A first alert which woke up the Belgians who obtained a first penalty in stride. An opportunity that Stephanie Vanden Borre did not miss who opened the scoring when the game had only started for 5 short minutes. The Panthers then took control of operations and they obtained 4 new pc but it was finally Justine Rasir who doubled the lead of her team on a perfect cross from Louise Versavel (13th). Then, just before the end of the first quarter, Stephanie Vanden Borre even placed Belgium on velvet by registering the number, again from the penalty spot. On the 7th penalty of the match, Charlotte Englebert put an end to a small scrum in front of the Chilean goalkeeper. The Red Panthers unrolled without forcing their talent and their opponents seemed unable to compete.
Nothing to lose against the Dutch
The second period had only started 45 seconds before Charlotte Englebert recovered the ball in midfield and quietly deceived the Chilean goalkeeper. A new goal which did not however discourage the Chileans who continued to offer a fluid and applied game but without real efficiency. The game clearly lost intensity as the minutes went by as the Belgians were content to accelerate sporadically to avoid any unnecessary expenditure of energy. In the last quarter, the South Americans got five pc but these were never dangerous. For their part, the Panthers were no longer very effective either in the opposing camp despite 2 last penalties.
“We knew that we couldn’t underestimate Chile because they had made it difficult for all their opponents during the group stage,” said captain Barbara Nelen straight away. “They play hockey with so much passion and that’s what we showed tonight as well. We scored the first goal quickly and that relieved us for the rest of the debates. This meeting was ideal to prepare our duel against the Netherlands. We will have nothing to lose and perhaps for the first time in our history we will beat our neighbors at home. We will do everything to achieve this. But for that we will have to evolve 100% and offer a high quality press. We will not be able to let them develop their game otherwise they will quickly gain confidence. We must make them doubt and that is how we will have a chance to shake them up.
This Tuesday (7:30 p.m.), the Belgians will try to snatch their ticket for the last four of the competition. A new shock against the Netherlands in front of a full stadium since 10,000 spectators will fill the stands of the Wagener Stadion. If the Dutch are obviously ultra-favorites in front of their supporters, the Red Panthers will therefore clearly have nothing to lose in this duel. They will therefore have to play with their qualities demonstrated throughout the last edition of the Pro League but also with their hearts to try to shake up and shake up the double defending champions. The last editions of the Plats-Pays derby were increasingly tight. Enough to feed real ambitions for this quarter-final.