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Ireland complete stunning double over Belgium men as India down Argentina in a thriller

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Lausanne, Switzerland: For the first time in almost 30 years, Ireland successfully pulled off back-to-back victories over Belgium, doing so in comprehensive fashion on Sunday at the FIH Hockey Pro League mini-tournament in Antwerp.

Having stunned the Olympic champions on their home turf four days earlier, the Irish side did it again and this time even more comprehensively with a 4-1 victory.

The Belgian women at least gave the home crowd something to cheer about, getting the better of the USA.

In the other matches of the day, Argentina’s women continued their winning ways with victory over India while India’s men prevailed against a spirited Argentinian fightback in a thrilling nine-goal encounter to end off the day.

This is how the day’s proceedings unfolded…

(Women’s) Argentina 3 – 0 India

Argentina secured another comfortable 3-0 win over India who will take a lot of positives from their improved performance. The Argentinians had the perfect start when Celina Di Santo scored a field goal from the push back. India stayed calm and worked their way into the game, dominating the first quarter but failing to convert from some excellent opportunities. Argentina controlled the second quarter but couldn’t add to their score and it remained 1-0 at half time.

The Indians continued to fight hard, but Argentina gradually gained the ascendancy through the second half. Maria Campoy extended the lead, snatching a field goal off a quickly taken free hit in the 39th minute and Maria Granatto added a penalty corner rebound in the 46th. The momentum was with Argentina in the closing stages, but they were unable to add to their score.

Maria Granatto was named player of the match for Argentina and said: “It wasn’t easy, never the international hockey is easy. So for us it’s a really good game for trusting ourselves and playing really good hockey.”

(Women’s) USA 1 – 2 Belgium

Hosts Belgium did enough to beat the USA 2-1 in a closely fought clash. The USA showed early confidence to take the lead, Linnea Gonzales rounding off a good team goal in the 5th minute. They had more opportunities, but Abi Raye responded with a field goal for the Belgians three minutes later, and Ambre Ballenghien put them ahead in the 13th. Belgium then pressed aggressively as the half progressed, disrupting USA possession and creating opportunities.

The home side dominated the second half without reward, while the USA made some dangerous circle entries. The result was still in the balance when the Americans pulled their goalkeeper off with a couple of minutes remaining, but their final roll of the dice came to nothing as Belgium cleared from inside their circle with seconds remaining.


Belgium’s Vanessa Blockmans was named player of the match and said: “We were expecting a lot of pressure from the USA, and we saw that it was very physical and everything, so I think we did what we had to do, we scored two goals and that’s enough.”

(Men’s) Belgium 1 – 4 Ireland

Daragh Walsh celebrated his 100th cap for Ireland with an historic 4-1 win over reigning Olympic champions Belgium, coming from behind to claim their first back-to-back result against the Red Lions in 29 years. Hosts Belgium opened the scoring through Antoine Kina in the 9th minute, but Ireland replied with an exquisite team goal as Ben Johnson deflected one in after 17 minutes.

The Irish had a dream start to the second half, Johnson completing his brace within 20 seconds of the push back. Belgium controlled the rest of the quarter only for Ireland to strike again in the 44th minute, with Jeremy Duncan getting the final touch. Ireland ended the match looking the stronger unit and Benjamin Walker wrapped up the memorable victory off a messy penalty corner with 5 minutes remaining.


An ecstatic Ben Johnson of Ireland was name player of the match and said: “We’ve been building for something for quite some time since India, and we’re going from strength to strength so it’s really good to see.”

(Men’s) Argentina 4 – 5 India

India prevailed in a high-energy 5-4 clash against Argentina to end off the day’s action. Federico Monja put Argentina ahead with an unstoppable 3rd-minute deflection, but India hit back with field goals from Araijeet Singh Hundal and Gurjant Singh in the 7th and 18th minutes. Keenan Nicolas levelled matters from a recycled penalty corner in the 24th minute before Harmanpreet Singh had the final word of the half, putting India 3-2 ahead with a 29th-minute drag flick.

India pressed high and created plenty of chances in the second half, earning Harmanpreet Singh two penalty strokes which he clattered home in the 50th and 52nd minutes. But Argentina fought back late with two quick goals, Tadeo Marcucci scrambling his first international goal in the 54th minute and Lucas Martinez adding another three minutes from time. Argentina substituted their goalkeeper in the frantic final few minutes to chase a draw but couldn’t find the equaliser.

Sukhjeet Singh of India was awarded the player of the match and said: “I am very happy with the performance. Today we had the mindset for the win, and we did it. It’s a great game for us because we scored and created.”

Top Scorer Armband

To celebrate the talented goal-scorers throughout the season the FIH has introduced the Top Scorer Armband, which is being worn by the leading goal-scorers in the men’s and women’s competitions in the current season, as a visual mark for the fans, and for the players to wear proudly, match after match.

Current Top Scorers:

Women – Yibbi Jansen (NED) (15 goals)

Men – Jip Janssen (NED) (9 goals)

To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.

FIH Hockey Pro League – 26 May 2024

Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp, (BEL)

WOMEN

Result: Match 39 (W)

Argentina 3 – 0 India

Player of the match: Maria Granatto (ARG)

Umpires: Alison Keogh (IRL), Kamile Mockaityte (LTU), Sean Edwards (ENG-video)

Result: Match 40 (W)

United States 1 – 2 Belgium

Player of the match: Vanessa Blockmans (BEL)

Umpires: Annelize Rostron (RSA), Ole Ingwersen (GER), Raphaël Adrien (GER-video)

MEN

Result: Match 39 (M)

Belgium 1 – 4 Ireland

Player of the match: 0

Umpires: Sarah Wilson (SCO), Sean Edwards (ENG), Annelize Rostron (RSA-video)

Result: Match 40 (M)

Argentina 4 – 5 India

Player of the match: Sukhjeet Singh (IND)

Umpires: Ben Goentgen (GER), Raphaël Adrien (GER), Alison Keogh (IRL-video)

FIH

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Belgium Edge India in Thrilling Shootout; Argentina Women Dominate in Decisive Victory

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