Tokyo 2020, Men's Hockey semifinal highlights: Belgium beats India 5-2 to reach final

Men's Hockey Semifinal Score: Here are all the commentary updates from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics encounter between India and Belgium in Japan.

Alexander Hendrickx celebrates with his Belgium teammates after scoring one of his three goals against India at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of Indian men's hockey team's Tokyo 2020 semifinal game against Belgium. This was Dominic Richard taking you through the action as it unfurled at the Oi Hockey Stadium.

Thanks for tuning in!

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Meanwhile, India will play in the Bronze medal game. Tomorrow, the country's women's team will take on Argentina in a last-four fixture. Indian Hockey action for the day might be over. However, you can head to Sportstar's  other live blog to catch various Indian athletes in action at Tokyo 2020 on August 3, Tuesday.

MATCH REPORT | India loses to Belgium in men's hockey semifinal at Tokyo Olympics

So, Belgium will face either Australia or Germany in the men's hockey final at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. A hattrick from Alexander Hendrickx and goals from Loick Luypaert, John-John Dohmen have guided the Belgians to their second straight gold-medal match. Can they do one better this time after claiming a silver at Rio 2016?

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:

AND THE GAME IS OVER! BELGIUM BEATS INDIA 5-2 TO ADVANCE TO THE TOKYO OLYMPICS MEN'S HOCKEY FINAL!!!

60' India has brought on an extra outfield player for the goalkeeper Sreejesh. GOOOAAAALLLL!!!! BELGIUM SCORES ONE MORE! This was against the run of play and the Belgians have made maximum use of the lack of an opposition keeper. John-John Dohmen is the scorer.

56' The Indian midfield is running out of ideas right now. India is attacking with numbers forward here, but constantly getting dispossessed.

53' GOOOOAAALLLLL!!!! BELGIUM EXTENDS ITS LEAD!! The Belgians won another trio of penalty corners and ended up turning the last one into a penalty stroke after an umpire's review. Hendrickx stepped up to convert it and complete his hattrick.

52' India and Belgium have exactly made 18 attacking circle penetrations each so far. The latter has dominated this quarter so far. Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh makes a good save to keep his team in the game.

49' GOOOOAAALLL!!!! BELGIUM 3 - 2 INDIA!!! Things went from bad to worse for the Indians in the last few minutes. Captain Manpreet Singh moved to the bench after receiving a green card. The Belgians won three consecutive penalty corners and Alexander Hendrickx scored off the final one.

47' India completing quite a few quick passes here. Lalit Kumar Upadhyay eventually receives the ball up front. He tries to win a penalty corner, but fails.

THE FOURTH AND FINAL QUARTER COMMENCES!

We are fifteen minutes (plus a shootout if needed) away from finding out the first finalist of the men's hockey event at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. Stay tuned!

THE THIRD QUARTER IS OVER!

45' This 15-minute period has been the dullest of the match, considering the fact that both India and Belgium failed to create any clear-cut chance throughout.

42' Thomas Briels sprints forward and enters the shooting circle. But the Belgian forward is tackled successfully by India's Sumit, who helps his team initiate a counter-attack.

39' PC FOR INDIA! Belgium also loses its referral now. Harmanpreet Singh is the drag-flicker as usual. His shot is blocked by the onrushing defender as the Belgians regain possession.

36' Another dangerous circle penetration from India. But the Belgian defenders somehow manage to avert the danger. The ball has been cleared long.

33' GOOD DEFENDING! Belgium's Arthur van Doren does well to dispossess Mandeep Singh, who has been India's best player on the field today, alongside Amit Rohidas.

THE THIRD QUARTER STARTS!

Alexander Hendrickx has worked out his magic for Belgium yet again as the side has equalised 2-2 with India in the first half. Thirty minutes to go. Stay tuned!

THE SECOND QUARTER IS DONE AND DUSTED!

29' PENALTY CORNER FOR INDIA! This will be the fourth PC of the day for the Indians, while Belgium has won seven so far. Harmanpreet Singh comes up with the drag-flick but his shot goes way off target.

26' India has lost its referral. This could prove costly for the team. The Indians desperately wanted a penalty corner but it will just be a long corner.

24' VERY CLOSE! Mandeep Singh sent a cross from the left flank. His Indian teammate Dilpreet Singh tried to get to the ball and deflect it into goal. However, he missed it by a few millimetres.

22' India has dominated the overall possession (55%) so far. But the Belgians have the upper hand when it comes to the attacking stats (circle penetrations and penalty corners).

19' GOOOAAAALLLL!!!!! BELGIUM EQUALISES!!! The leading goalscorer of the Tokyo Olympics -- Alexander Hendrickx -- takes his first penalty corner of the match and he scores with a world class drag-flick.

17' THREE CONSECUTIVE PCs FOR BELGIUM! Rupinder Pal Singh comes forward before the umpire's whistle is blown. So India will defend with only three players plus the goalkeeper. However, Belgium isn't able to find the equaliser all three times.

THE SECOND QUARTER IS UNDERWAY!

Goals from Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh have cancelled out Loick Luypaert's opener as India holds a 2-1 lead over Belgium after the opening 15 minutes.

THE FIRST QUARTER ENDS!

14' GOOD INTERCEPTION! Indian defender Amit Rohidas is everywhere!!! Just as Belgian forward Cedric Charlier was trying to get to a pass from his teammate, Rohidas stole the ball away.

11' PENALTY CORNER FOR INDIA! Rupinder Pal Singh is the drag flicker this time around. His shot on target is eventually saved by Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.

8' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!! INDIA 2 - 1 BELGIUM!!! Amit Rohidas sent a good pass from the right flank. Mandeep Singh controlled the ball well, took a turn and fired a lethal strike into the goal to give the Indians the lead.

7' GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!! INDIA FINDS THE EQUALISER!!! The Indians won back-to-back penalty corners and Harmanpreet Singh scored from the second one. This is his fifth goal of the tournament, all off PCs.

5' CHANCE FOR BELGIUM! Arthur Van Doren rushes forward with the ball. He tries to take a shot but ends up winning a free-hit for his team.

2' GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!! BELGIUM TAKES A 1-0 LEAD!!! Loick Luypaert steps up in the absence of regular drag-flicker Alexander Hendrickx and he scores a stunner off a penalty corner.

1' EARLY PRESSURE FROM INDIA! Hardik Singh does well to release Mandeep Singh inside the shooting circle. However, Mandeep is dispossessed by a Belgium defender.

AND THE MATCH BEGINS!

The players from both teams are out on the field, and it is time for the national anthems, which will be followed by the toss in the middle.

The team lineups are out!

INDIA XI: PR Sreejesh (GK), Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Manpreet Singh (C), Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Dilpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Shamser Singh.

COACH - Graham Reid.

BELGIUM XI: Nicolas De Kerpel, Antoine Kina, Gauthier Boccard, Vincent Vanasch (GK), Victor Wegnez, Arthur De Sloover, Loick Luypaert, Florent van Aubel, Sébastien Dockier, Arthur Van Doren, Felix Denayer (C).

COACH - Shane McLeod.

Bir Bahadur Chettri, a goalkeeper in the 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medal-winning side, is thrilled after the Indian men's hockey team ended a 41-year wait to make it to the medal round in Tokyo on Sunday. He said the unity and cohesiveness among the current Indian players reminded him of his own 1980 Olympic side.

FULL STORY | Moscow Olympic gold medallist Chettri on India ending 41-year wait to reach semis

 

MATCH PREVIEW:

Handling the immense burden of expectations would perhaps be the key when the Indian men's hockey team takes on world champion Belgium, aiming to secure a place in the Olympic finals and with it, a medal for the first time in 41 years in Tokyo on Tuesday.

With 11 Olympic medals, eight of them gold, in its kitty, India has a rich history at the Games and the Manpreet Singh-led hockey team is on course to resurrect that glorious past.

The Indians achieved the semifinal slot by beating Great Britain 3-1 in the quarterfinals on Sunday, and are now within touching distance of a medal. India's last of the eight Olympic gold medals came way back at the 1980 Moscow Games but there were no semifinals in that edition as only six teams participated in the event.

For a country that gave the world stalwarts like Major Dhyan Chand and Balbir Singh Senior among others, it has been painful to watch the hockey teams' Olympic debacles a few years ago. The last time India featured in the semifinals of the Olympics was at the 1972 Munich Games where it lost 0-2 to arch-rival Pakistan.

The Graham Reid-coached current side knows very well that another good outing against Belgium on Tuesday would etch its name in the history books no matter the colour of the final medal.

The Indians are on a four-match winning streak after the 1-7 drubbing against Australia in their second pool A match and come Tuesday, Manpreet and his teammates would look to continue the momentum.

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But it would be easier said than done as in Belgium, India faces a tough opponent, which has improved leaps and bounds in the last few years. Besides being the current world champion and World No.2 side, Belgium is also the reigning European champion.

Going by rankings, however, there is hardly anything to separate the two sides as India is currently ranked third in the world. The recent head-to-head record also favours India.

The Indians and the Red Lions played each other three times in 2019 during their tour of the European nation and the Asian side came out victorious in all the matches. India had defeated Belgium 2-0, 3-1 and 5-1 back then.

In the most recent outing in March this year, India beat Belgium 3-2. In fact, in their last five matches against Belgium, the Indians have registered four wins. However, the last time both the sides met each other in the Olympics, Belgium came out 3-1 winner in Rio.

While India finished second in Pool A behind Australia, Belgium was Pool B topper with four wins and a draw. Despite having an upperhand over Belgium in their recent ties, come Tuesday the Indians would need to be at the top of their game to edge past the Red Lions.

India captain Manpreet Singh has already cautioned his teammates after the quarterfinal win, saying the "business hasn't finished yet. We are so happy because after a long time we are reaching a semifinal. But still we have two more games so we need to focus, we need to have our feet on the ground."

FULL SQUADS:

India - P.R. Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit, Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Varun Kumar, Simranjeet Singh.

Belgium - Simon Gougnard, Nicolas De Kerpel, Antoine Kina, Gauthier Boccard, Vincent Vanasch, Victor Wegnez, Tom Boon, Arthur De Sloover, Cedric Charlier, Loick Luypaert, Augustin Meurmans, Alexander Hendrickx, Florent van Aubel, John-John Dohmen, Sébastien Dockier, Arthur Van Doren, Thomas Briels, Felix Denayer.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):

  • At what time will the Indian men's hockey team be in action?
    The hockey game against Belgium will start today at 7:00 AM IST (10:30 AM local time).
  • Where to watch Indian events at Tokyo Olympics?
    The Sony Sports Network will broadcast Tokyo Olympics live in India.

    Sony TEN 3 HD/SD will telecast India events with Hindi commentary while Sony TEN 1 HD/SD and Sony TEN 2 HD/SD will have English commentary.

    Live streaming of the events will be available on the SonyLIV and JioTV apps.