Rabobank Hockey Champions Trophy – final day of the Round Robin

Pakistan finish at the bottom while India contest for a place in the final

29 June 2018

Breda: Earlier today, Pakistan suffered a defeat at the hands of the world number three side, Belgium. The loss leaves Pakistan at the bottom of the table and will contest for the 5th/6th position at their final match of the tournament. The Asian Champions India are on 7 points, one more than the hosts, the Netherlands in third, and the two teams will compete against each other, in which the winner will book its -place in the final to face the reigning champions and world number 1, Australia.

In the only match of the day, Pakistan faced Belgium and took the lead in the first quarter owing to a brilliant penalty corner from Aleem Bilal. Pakistan finished the first half with the same score-line, creating chances through long balls which the attackers gathered quickly. However, Pakistan gave possession away deep inside the 25-yard line of the Belgian defense and was caught on the counter on numerous occasions. Quick fall-back by the green team and some heroics off the line by Imran Butt (Pakistan goalkeeper) kept the world number three at bay. However, halfway through the third quarter, Belgium finally broke free when Thomas Briels core the equalizer for the Red Lions. Pakistan was quick to respond and equalized after two minutes. Aleem Bilal pushed the ball into the top of the goal from a blistering penalty corner. However, the lead was short-lived and Belgium equalized in the next minute when the number 11 deflected the ball into the back of the net from the center of the goal. It was all Belgium from there, who score twice in the last quarter to keep their hopes for a medal at the Hockey Champions Trophy alive. Pakistan will now contest for 5th/6th on the last day of the tournament.

The Asian Number one side is having a terrific tournament thus far. They are in second place ahead of the Netherlands. Thus far, India has won two matches in the tournament (Pakistan 4-0, and Argentina 2-1). India suffered defeat at the hands of the Kookaburras and drew against Belgium. All eyes, however, will be on the match between India and Netherlands as the winner will qualify for the finals. A draw will also be good enoough for India!

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