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Belgium upset the rankings on day two of the world league

[img_assist|nid=8244|title=Rabobank World League semi final|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=150]Australia – Belgium 1-3 (0-2 halftime)

Belgium proved yet again that they are one of the fastest improving nations in world hockey by recording a superb 3-1 victory over reigning world champions Australia on day 2 of the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Final tournament in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. It was a top class performance Belgium, with goals from Sebastien Dockier, Cedric Charlier and John-John Dohmen giving the Europeans a memorable win over the world’s number 2 ranked team.

Belgium made the perfect start to their Hockey World League Round 3 campaign when Dockier produced a wonderful deflection inside the first 30 seconds of the match. It was a goal which rocked the Kookaburras, but it they were soon back on steady ground and began to mount wave after wave of positive attacking play. However, the Belgians dealt with the challenge impressively, and soon doubled their advantage when Cedric Charlier fired home from close range after being teed up by the outstanding Thomas Briels.

The Australians could easily  have been level ahead of the break were it not for some fine saves from Vincent Vanasch, who also watched a diving effort from five times FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer go agonisingly wide of the target.

Australia were hugely impressive in the second half, but continued to struggle to find a breakthrough despite numerous penalty corner efforts. That was until the 63rd minute, when Russell Ford reduced the deficit from open play following some masterful work from Dwyer. However, The Belgians re-established their two goal advantage five minutes from full time, with John-John Dohmen producing a clinical finish to seal a memorable victory over the 2010 World Champions. 

Spain – France 4-2 (3-0 halftime)

Spain had a relatively easy challenge on its first day of action at the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, dispatching France in a 4-2 decision. The French did their best to stage a comeback late in the game, but the bid fell short as the Spanish were simply too strong.

Spain made easy work of the French during a four minute span that saw them pour in three goals. David Alegre got things rolling in the 18th minute when he put the ball right between the legs of French goalkeeper Martin Zylbermann. Xavi Lleonart and Andres Mir followed up with back-to-back penalty corner goals to pull the Spanish out to the commanding 3-0 lead.

Viktor Lockwood cut into the lead for the French in the 51st minute, but before anyone could say ‘Viva la France’ the Spanish had erased his efforts when Roc Oliva found the back of the goal less than a minute later. The French had the last word five minutes later when Hugo Genestet gave the French hope by cutting the lead to 4-2 with 14 minutes left, but ultimately the French ran out of time and gas in their comeback bid and fell, 4-2.

Both teams have tall orders ahead of them tomorrow as the French will take on Belgium and Spain will meet Australia.

n the 51st minute, but before anyone could say ‘Viva la France’ the Spanish had erased his efforts when Roc Oliva found the back of the goal less than a minute later. The French had the last word five minutes later when Hugo Genestet gave the French hope by cutting the lead to 4-2 with 14 minutes left, but ultimately the French ran out of time and gas in their comeback bid and fell, 4-2.

Both teams have tall orders ahead of them tomorrow as the French will take on Belgium and Spain will meet Australia.

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