Wales lose 6-0 to the World Champions, Belgium, in the biggest game of their career.
Wales put up an impressive fight against Belgium, who are ranked 23 places higher than Wales, in their final match of Pool A on Belgium’s home turf.
Belgium immediately set the pace, but they were surprised to find they couldn’t shrug Wales off as fast as they might have thought, as Wales were fit, leaving little room for Belgium to get away from the Welsh men.
Wales’ goalkeeper James Fortnam deflected a fireball of a shot from Belgium at 6’ as the scoreboard remained untouched.
Wales held a strong line as the opposition pressed hard, keeping their backboard safe from a Belgium ball for the majority of the first quarter, as Wales maintained an impressive 46.3% possession against the champions of the world.
Despite Wales’ incredible effort in defence, Belgium were relentless in their attempts of a goal, as they finally got over the line at 14’ as Alexander Henrickx scored off of a penalty corner shortly followed by Belgium’s Tom Boom getting the ball to the back of the net again after a fast break, making it 0 – 2 to Belgium going in the final minute of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Belgium made it harder for Wales to get past the half-way line but Wales were constantly challenging Belgium as they looked for ways into the circle. They gained more ground, more often, but couldn’t quite convert their efforts into a goal.
Belgium were eager for more points as they lurked around Wales’ circle, but Wales took back possession and then became trapped in the corner by the reds, but #10 Rhodri Furlong remained calm under pressure and cleared the ball to Luke Hawker.
At 19’ Belgium’s Emmanuel Stockbroekx received a green card giving Wales the one up. Wales got close to scoring but Belgium’s defence was hard to crack. Tranter then made an important save at 23’ keeping the score 0-2 but it wasn’t to last as Wales conceded a goal at 26’ when #13 Nicolas de Kerpel scored Belgium’s 3rd ball making it 0-3.
At 28’ Cedric Charlier scored making it 0-4 going into half time.
HALF TIME: WALES 0 – 4 BELGIUM
The pace didn’t slow moving into the second half, as the teams sprinted back and forth with Dan Kyriakides and Jacob Draper ruffling Belgium’s feathers with their constant presence. Belgium went on to score their 5th goal at 35’ from Belgium’s sharp Cedric Charlier.
Despite the score, Wales were relentless and determined. They had an opening at 37’ as they escaped the clutches of Belgium’s defence, sadly the shot was deflected out wide.
Wales’ attack riled Belgium, as they made a B-line for Wales’ circle in pursuit of a goal, as Belgium’s Thomas Briels made it 0-6 to Belgium at 41’.
Wales still looked physically strong on the pitch in the fourth quarter, as they matched Belgium stride for stride up and down the pitch, showing no signs of slowing down.
As the ball got into the hands of Wales’ attack and quickly moved down the pitch, Ben Francis made a final attempt at a goal but unfortunately it just nipped the wrong side of the posts for Wales.
With 49.6% possession, Wales gave Belgium a tough time as they effectively generated turnovers and prevented the goal difference from getting bigger as Belgium failed to convert a penalty corner.
Wales managed to stop Belgium from scoring any goals in the fourth quarter as the men played right until the last minute with the same effort as when they first stepped on to the pitch, but the full time whistle finally called it a day as the match ended 0-6 to Belgium.
FULL TIME: WALES 0 – 6 BELGIUM
Wales enter Pool C to face off against Scotland on Thursday 22nd August at 12.30pm (BST). They will also compete against Ireland later in the week.