Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Mink van der Weerden fires in the PCs as Netherlands defeat Belgium

[img_assist|nid=4731|title=Here we go|desc=Dutch fans celebrate at the Riverbank Arena as their side overcomes Belgium 3-1 – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=146]LONDON, August 1 – A series of wasted chances undermined a strong Belgium performance as they lost their second pool match 3-1 against Netherlands at the Riverbank Arena on Wednesday.

Robbert Kemperman had the match’s first clear chance in the fifth minute, a powerful reverse-stick hit that Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch blocked and cleared.

Two minutes later, a superb piece of aerial control from five-time Olympian Teun de Nooijer earned Netherlands their first penalty corner, but Mink van der Weerden, scorer of the winner in their opening match against India, struck the post with his powerful raised flick.

Netherlands were happy to be patient in possession, passing around at the back in an attempt to draw Belgium out of their own half in order to create space.

Denied any penalty corner chances, Belgium’s goalscoring opportunities were limited, but Jerome Dekeyser had a powerful hit go just wide before Florent van Aubel had Belgium’s best chance of the first half, finding space on the right of the Netherlands’ circle and forcing goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann into a block at his near post.

With the match scoreless at half-time, Belgium started the second half well and Tom Boon, two days after leaving the field on a stretcher after taking a head knock, nearly scored with a near-post deflection in the 38th minute.

A few minutes later and against the run of play, Billy Bakker earned Netherlands a penalty corner with a run along the left backline and van der Weerden improved on his first-half attempt, flicking into the goal off the underside of the crossbar to give Netherlands a 1-0 lead.

Despite Belgium having a lot of possession and creating chances, the Netherlands always had a penalty corner threat and in the 47th minute they earned their third of the match when Benjamin van Hove lost control of the ball in his own circle.

Captain Jerome Truyens was sent to the halfway line for an early break, but then Jeffrey Thys ran down van der Weerden’s flick to keep Belgium within range.

Belgium won a pair of penalty corners in the 58th minute and, after having his first effort blocked by Stockmann, Dekeyser found a gap with his second attempt to put Belgium level at 1-1.

Penalty corner chances dominated the second half and when captain Floris Evers earned Netherlands’ fourth in the 62nd minute, it led to their second goal. A slow stop of the pull-out allowed Truyens to block van der Weerden’s first flick, but the ball stopped dead in front of him and he fired it past Vanasch to put Netherlands back in the lead at 2-1.

With two minutes left, Belgium removed Vanasch for an extra outfield player, but the tactic failed as Bob de Voogd broke free on the right in the final moments, made his way to the top of the circle and shot into the empty goal to make the final score 3-1.


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