England men suffer 2-1 defeat to Belgium

England men in action against Belgium at the Four Nations in Glasgow

In their last round-robin match of the Four Nations tournament in Glasgow England suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the so far unbeaten Belgian team.

Felix Denayer 35 (FG)
Cedric Charlier 65 (FG)

Phil Roper 60 (FG)

Despite dominating for long periods, failure to capitalise on good possession in the circle in the first half meant one goal was not enough to see England through to the final. England will now be playing Scotland for third place in the last match tomorrow at 11am, while Belgium go on to the final against Argentina which will be played at 9am.

Speaking after the game, England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, “I was very pleased with our display against one of the teams who have been tipped to win the World Cup. We coped well against a high calibre Belgian team, but we must learn to capitalise on good possession and take our chances. The defeat is disappointing, but we’ve taken another step on the road to the World Cup.”

Throughout the game Ashley Jackson, Barry Middleton and Nick Catlin were causing trouble for the Belgian side, and late in the first half it looked like Catlin might open the scoring after he beat four players to the circle and took a shot from a very acute angle. However, the angle was just too sharp and he saw his shot go into the side netting. Despite several other chances for both England and Belgium the first half seemed destined to be goalless until, on the stroke of half-time, England conceded a penalty corner. While the ball was initially cleared, it was crossed back into the circle to an unmarked Felix Denayer, who smashed it home to give Belgium a 1-0 lead going into the break.

The second half began much like the first with both sides looking strong, but it was Phil Roper who leveled the game with his first England goal. After a good approach by England down the right, an unmarked Roper got the ball just off the back line in the Belgian circle and fired a shot across the goal which took a deflection off a Belgian defender to level the game at 1-1 with just ten minutes left on the clock.

In the final ten minutes the game could have gone either way, but a setback for England saw them reduced to ten men after Michael Hoare picked up a yellow card. Belgium were able to exploit the advantage given by an extra man and in the 65th minute Cedric Charlier picked up the ball after a scramble in front of the goal and found the target to give his side a 2-1 victory.

England will now play for third place against Scotland tomorrow morning at 11am. The match will be streamed live on the FIH You Tube channel.

Four Nations match schedule & results

Friday 25 April
1700 - England v Argentina 2-2 (1-1)
1900 - Belgium v Scotland 4-3 (2-1)

Saturday 26 April
1500 - England v Scotland 3-1 (1-1)
1700 - Argentina v Belgium 1-2 (1-1)

Monday 28 April
0900 - Scotland v Argentina 2-5 (1-2)
1100 - Belgium v England 2-1 (1-0)

Tuesday 29 April
0900 - Belgium v Argentina (1st v 2nd)
1100 - England v Scotland (3rd v 4th)