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England win Pool A at Hero Hockey Champions Trophy, Belgium finish second

The game was tied at 1-1

Bhubaneswar, 9 December 2014: England and Belgium remain unbeaten in the Hero Men’s Champions Trophy 2014 after drawing 1-1 in their last Pool A matchon Tuesday. However, England are Pool A winners having collected two more points than Belgium’s Red Lions who finished second.

ENG vs BEL (3)

Belgium took the lead early on when Amaury Keusters was located unmarked in the circle by a clever Tanguy Cosyns pass. The forward unleashed a powerful backhand shot to beat George Pinner in the ninth minute.

From there, England had better chances, Ollie Willars and Sam Ward seeing their efforts brilliantly saved by Vincent Van Asch. Ashley Jackson then hit the post from a penalty corner while, in the aftermath, Ward was fouled leading to a penalty stroke. Iain Lewers, however, could only find the metalwork, leaving Belgium ahead 1-0 at the break.

England produced a series of two penalty corners in the third quarter but neither captain Barry Middleton nor Jackson were able to find the target. Just before the third quarter break a Keusters’ strike hit the crossbar and the Red Lions remained in their narrow 1-0 lead.

Lewers eventually equalised for England with 13 minutes remaining when his powerful backhand stroke found the bottom of the goal. Belgium fought hard to get a second goal but the result remained tied.

Speaking post the match, England Coach, Bobby Crutchley said, “It was a tough match and the boys played good hockey today. Due to the humid climate the game was a bit slow, though defended very well and managed to draw the game. I am confident the team will improve themselves and give a tough fight in the quarter finals.”

Speaking on the draw, England Captain, Barry Middleton said, “The aim was to win the match and we tried doing that but we ended up with a draw. They played very good but we could have been better, we lost chances to convert and this resulted in a draw. We are looking forward to the next game and would love to play against India in India in front of a passionate crowd”

‘Man of the Match’, Iain Lewers, England said, “India being the host of the Champions Trophy, we would like to play India in the Quarter Finals and in front of their home crowd. It is okay to lose three pool matches because what matters is a good performance and a win in the Quarter Finals, as it will ensure a spot in the semi-finals. It is evident that India is in good form especially post their successful stint in the Asian Games 2014 and can prove to be a tough competition.”

Speaking post match John-John Dohmen said, “This team is with each other since a long time and hence gives us the advantage of very good team coordination on the field. This team has even seen oneself going up the rankings and it’s a very nice feeling. It is good to see that Boon will play the Hockey India League next year and if given a chance there will be others in this team who we not mind playing the League”

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