Belgium tied India 2-2 in the second quarter of the Tokyo Olympics semifinal on Tuesday (August 3). Alexander Hendrickx of the Red Lions converted the fourth penalty corner conceded by the Indian defence in the second quarter of the game. India managed to defend three penalty corners in the first few minutes of the second quarter, but Belgium eventually levelled the game. In the dying minutes of the second quarter, India had a chance to take the lead, but skipper Manpreet Singh shot wide of the goal.
After conceding a goal in the second minute, Mandeep Singh (11th minute) and Harmanpreet Singh (8th minute) put India ahead 2-1 in the first quarter. India piled on the pressure in the eighth minute, earning back-to-back penalty corners before Harmanpreet scored his fifth goal of the tournament.
Earlier, after earning a penalty corner in the first minute of the game, Belgium’s Loick Fanny Luypaert hammered home the game’s first goal in the second minute to put the Indians down 1-0. Team India also had an opportunity in the first quarter, with an early free hit for Hardik Singh, but they were unable to capitalise.
Following Super Sunday, when the men’s hockey team advanced to the medal round for the first time since 1980, came Magic Monday, when the women’s team made history by reaching the Olympic Games hockey tournament semifinals for the first time. So, will it be another great day for Indian hockey when the Indian men’s team takes on Belgium in the Olympic Games semifinals in Tokyo?
While India hopes to win Tuesday’s match and reach the final for the first time since 1980, when they won their eighth gold medal, the Belgian Red Lions are hoping to make it to their second consecutive final after finishing runners-up to Argentina in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
The Indians will also be out for vengeance, as Belgium knocked them out of the Olympic quarterfinals in 2016. Despite having advanced this far, the Indian team has nothing to lose because it has met its goal of reaching the semifinals. They can go all out, as the women’s team did against Australia on Monday, and capitalise on their opportunities.
The team is on a four-match winning streak, having defeated Spain (3-0), Argentina (3-1), Japan (4-3), and the United Kingdom (3-1) so far, and one more victory will guarantee them at least a silver medal.