Champions Trophy: India look to settle scores with Belgium

Champions Trophy: India look to settle scores with BelgiumMelbourne, Dec 5 : India will look to settle scores with Belgium in the knockout phase of the FIH Champions Trophy hockey Thursday when they two teams clash in the quarter-finals.

India have lost their last two matches against the European country. First at the Champions Challenge last year when India threw away a two-goal lead in the closing stages of the match to pave the way for Belgium to make their maiden appearance in the elite Champions Trophy. India again lost to the World No. 8 team in the preliminary group of the London Olympics.

This time, however, India look good to get the better of Belgium.

India, who are currently ranked 11 in the world, topped their group with two victories from three matches above Olympic champions and World No. 1 Germany, World No. 4 England and New Zealand while Belgium lost all three matches, finishing fourth and last in their pool.

On their current form, India should qualify for the semi-finals where they can face the winner of the other quarter-final between world champions Australia and England.

However, injuries are a worry for the eight-time Olympic champions, who got a wild card to play in the tournament for the first time after 2005.

India skipper Sardar Singh has a stiff shoulder, midfielder Manpreet Singh has stitches on and around his ear cartridge and striker S. V. Sunil has hamstring issues.

Belgium would like to take advantage of India's injury problems.

The Europeans lost their first two matches without a fight but gave a spirited performance in their last pool game against Olympic silver-medallists the Netherlands.

After being down 0-3 by the first-half, they came back to score four goals before losing 4-5.

In the other quarter-finals Thursday, Germany will take on Pakistan while the Netherlands face New Zealand.  (IANS)

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