Immediately following the successful passage ‘down under’, beating both the Kookaburras and the Black Sticks, the Red Lions took a short break in Malaysia before flying on to Bhubaneswar to confront an Indian side that is clearly gaining in stature on the international stage.
Although the Kalinga Stadium holds fond memories for the Belgian national side as the ground on which they became World Champions in 2018, the first game, on a heavy and very wet pitch, and at a scorching pace, did not bring the result the Lions had hoped for. Stronger during 60 minutes, 13 penalty corners and 38 circle penetrations later, the Indians (read both Indian goalies) came out victorious (2-1).
The second game was completely different and more balanced, at a much more controlled tempo, with the Red Lions trading blows with India, an opponent to watch out for in Tokyo, up to a 2-2 score. Then the Belgian side took the upper hand thanks to their superior physical condition and with a third goal the revenge for the loss on Saturday was a fact (2-3).
With 14 points out of 18, Belgium leads in the FIH Hockey Pro League standings, with India at the second place with 8 points. Next games for the Red Lions will be on 19/03 and 26/03 in and against Germany.
As from the 15th of May, the Red Lions and the Red Panthers will play in Belgium. The games against Argentina, Great-Britain, the USA/Spain and the Netherlands, will be played in the Wilrijkse Plein Stadium in Antwerp. This will be a unique chance to witness world class hockey in Belgium and to experience a top-notch Hockey Belgium event. It will also be one of the last chances to come and cheer on the Red Lions, just before they leave for the Olympics in Japan.