India lost to hosts Belgium 0-4 in their Hockey World League (HWL) semi-Final match at the Brasschaat Municipal Park in Antwerp on Friday, the hosts thus booking their place in the final.
For Belgium, Florent Van Aubel scored a brilliant hat-trick while Tanguy Cosyns scored one to steer the team to the final.
The hosts got off to a cracking start to the match, firing a goal in the second minute of the first quarter. It was a smart play by the hosts. Jasjit Singh with a weak tackle made it easy for Van Aubel to score just at the start of the game.
After conceding a goal, India counter-attacked well and Satbir Singh got a golden chance to level the score. He only needed to tap the ball on to an open goal, but Belgium stopper Vincent Vanasch came up with a stellar save.
Cosyns netted the second goal in the eighth minute for the hosts. India stopper Sreejesh stopped the drag flick but the rebound landed in front of Cosyns, who uncovered in time by the Indian defence and fired one past Sreejesh to help Belgium take a 2-0 lead.
In the second quarter, India pressed on as Satbir stole the ball at the edge of circle and fired one in on the run, but Belgium stopper Vanasch again came with a good stop.
The second half saw India putting up a better fight and if it was not for Belgium goalkeeper Vanasch, they would have at least pulled a goal back.
At the start of the third quarter, skipper Sardar Singh ran well as he managed to dodge a couple of Belgian defenders but once again, was guilty of holding on to the ball a bit too long and his attack in was blunted.
In the 40th minute, Jasjit put his body on the line of the attacker and gave away a penalty corner. Van Aubel found the net for the second time in the 41st minute to take Belgium to 3-0.
In the dying minutes of third quarter, India earned a penalty corner but Manpreet Singh lost a chance to score.
The final quarter saw Belgium in a more attacking mode as a shoddy Indian defence helped Van Aubel find the net for the third time to score a hat-trick and take Belgium to 4-0.