FIH Pro League Insight: Belgium

FIH Pro League Insight: Belgium
Great Britain welcome Belgium’s men and women to Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Sunday 19 May for an FIH Pro League double header – tickets are available HERE.

It’ll be the first time that Great Britain will have met Belgium in the FIH Pro League with the women’s match starting the day at 1pm before the men’s game commences at 3pm.

Ahead of Sunday’s double header we took a closer look at the Belgian sides:


Belgium men hunting top spot
The World Champions may have started the FIH Pro League with a disappointing shootout loss to Spain following a 2-2 draw, but they responded well with a 4-2 away victory over reigning Olympic Champions Argentina.

Though Belgium have played the least matches (5) they are yet to taste defeat in the FIH Pro League with three wins and two draws.

Belgium will be frustrated to have only drawn with New Zealand, who are yet to win a match from nine games, but it was a strong finish to their opening matches with a dominant 4-1 victory against table-topping Australia and a 7-3 triumph over Spain in their first FIH Pro League home game.

That match against Spain (April 10) is the only match Belgium have played since February 3 against Australia with a busy schedule approaching over the coming weeks.

Currently occupying second place in the FIH Pro League table and looking to close the gap on Australia, Belgium have been lethal in attack with 21 goals from just five games, averaging the most goals per game in the league.

Belgium

Featuring Arthur van Doren (FIH Player of the Year), Arthur de Sloover (FIH Young Player of the Year) and Vincent Vanasch (FIH Goalkeeper of the Year) the Belgium squad is bursting full of talent.

There’s also a wealth of experience to accompany this, Belgium’s squad averages 142 caps per player which is comfortably the highest of the FIH Pro League teams with Great Britain only averaging 100 per player.

There’s some history between the two teams with Great Britain ruthlessly winning 12-1 to take Gold at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games, in what was Belgium’s debut Olympic hockey appearance and their first home Games.

Belgium did return the favour at the Rio 2016 Olympics with a 4-1 victory on the way to their best ever finish as they scooped the silver medal.

Belgium

Red Panthers looking to maintain strong start
Despite only sitting at number 13 in the FIH World Rankings, the lowest ranked side in the league, Belgium’s women’s team have impressed so far in the FIH Pro League.

Currently third with four wins, one draw and a loss, Belgium have started well, but with more than half their games left to play it’s going to be tough to maintain their present place in the table.

Having played the fewest games in the FIH Pro League so far (6, no other side has played less than 8) Belgium will need to keep up their winning run in order to preserve their high win percentage, stay in touch with the top two and secure a top four finish.

Belgium

A 2-0 defeat to Argentina was far from an ideal start to their FIH Pro League campaign but impressive consecutive victories over Commonwealth Games champions New Zealand (1-0) and Australia (2-1) within two days of each other showed the quality Belgium possess.

Though the Red Panthers could only pick up one point against the USA following a shootout loss in a 1-1 draw, they bounced back with consecutive victories against China (4-1) and the USA (2-1) in their opening home games. 

Only Caia Van Maasakker (4) has scored more goals from penalty corners than Belgium’s Alix Gerniers’ three strikes, though Gerniers has played two games fewer than her Dutch counterpart, with the Red Panthers holding a serious threat from the set piece. 

The last time Belgium faced Great Britain, they were on the receiving end of a 3-0 defeat at the London 2012 Olympic Games where GB would go on to take bronze. 

Don’t miss out on watching world class international hockey in London and secure your tickets for Sunday’s double header by clicking HERE.