India and Belgium have booked their respective spots for the quarterfinal of the ongoing Junior Hockey World Cup in Bhuvneshwar. Notably, the 2016 finalists will be seen in action against each other once again in the tournament. Given that Belgium topped Pool A and India stood second in Pool B after the end of the league stage, both sides will be now fighting it out in the knockout for a semi-final spot at the Kalinga Stadium on December 1. The match will start at 10:30 AM IST.
Ahead of the mega encounter between the sides, Belgium junior men’s hockey team coach Jeroen Baart has spoken to SportsTiger in an exclusive interview. Baart has revealed that it would be fantastic for his boys to face a team like India in the quarterfinal of the ongoing Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup.
It would be great competing with the best: Baart on game against India
It is worth recalling that the senior Belgium men’s team bagged a gold medal in the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics. When asked if the team has any added pressure considering the feat, Baard said: “At the moment the only pressure we feel is the pressure we have put on ourselves. From the outside, no really, we don’t feel the pressure. We really want to grow inside the tournament.”
Belgium and India were almost sure to face each other in the quarter-final since India’s defeat to France in their campaign opener. Talking about the then possible knockout game against India, the Belgium coach said: “Playing against India in the quarter-final would be a fantastic opportunity for the boys to play against the host nation…It would be great competing with the best.”
“Last time (Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup 2016), we also had the opportunity to play against India in the final. There was a crazy atmosphere, it was a fantastic experience for the whole team. Unfortunately, it was a bad result for us. I think every game at this level at his pace is a fantastic opportunity, and we will we really looking forward to be working towards that moment,” the coach added.
Notably, India won their final league game against Poland 8-2 to qualify for the next round, while Belgium sealed the number 1 spot for themselves with a win over Chile on Saturday.