Hockey World Cup 2018: Belgium beats plucky Canada 2-1

Felix Denayer and Thomas Briels scored for Belgium, Mark Pearson pulled one back for Canada in a close contest as Hockey World Cup 2018 got off to a thrilling start.

Belgium baffled Canada with an entertaining show of high-speed hockey and innovative circle penetration.   -  biswaranjan rout

Belgium overcame Canada's spirited resistance to eke out a slim 2-1 victory in the opening Pool C match of the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

Belgium baffled Canada with an entertaining show of high-speed hockey and innovative circle penetration. Functioning like an efficient, well-oiled machine, the Belgians stepped on the pedal from the word go and earned the lead in the third minute.

As it happened: Belgium beats Canada 2-1

Arthur van Doren's slapshot from outside the circle was crisply deflected in by Felix Denayer.

Despite being under pressure, Canada used the video referral wisely to get another Belgian goal disallowed in the 12th minute.

Belgium maintains upper hand

The second quarter was no different except for a couple of potential threats from Canada, through Keegan Pereira-led counter-attacks.

Belgium maintained its stranglehold and produced a penalty corner in the 20th minute, but Loick Luyparet's shot was blocked beautifully by the Canadian ‘keeper Antoni Kindler. Luyparet's second attempt from a rebound also went in vain.

The Europeans doubled the lead when van Doren's creative pass from outside the penalty area was hammered in by captain Thomas Briels.

Canada pulls one back

Belgium was short on intensity but applied pressure to earn three more corners in the penultimate period. However, Kindler stood out with his great anticipation and superb reflex to thwart any further damage.

Canada executed its plan well in the final quarter by shrinking the gaps and being smart on counter-attacks. It scored off its second penalty corner as Mark Pearson tapped it in on his second attempt following a variation.

Belgium's repeated raids didn't bear fruit.

The result: Belgium 2 (Felix Denayer 3, Thomas Briels 22) bt Canada 1 (Mark Pearson 48).