Hockeyroos held by Belgium in World Cup

Posted by On 10:36 AM

Hockeyroos held by Belgium in World Cup

Australia have failed to capitalise against Belgium in their World Cup pool match, meaning they may need to win their next match to avoid the play-off round.

Australia have been held to a scoreless draw by a stoic Belgium side to narrowly hang onto top spot in their World Cup pool.

The Hockeyroos were left to rue missed chances after the heroic performance of Belgium goalkeeper Aisling D'Hooghe ensured they failed to convert any of their six corners or 10 shots on goal at London's Lee Valley Hockey Centre on Tuesday.

Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said the Belgians played solidly to make it a tough and even match.

"We're disappointed that we didn't execute our skills well enough to get the result we wanted," he said.

"It's about execution in the circles. That was one o f our goals and we didn't quite get there today."

D'Hooghe first denied Rosie Malone's flat reverse stick shot early in the second quarter, while D'Hooghe's opposite number Rachael Lynch thwarted Barbara Nelen moments later.

Australia failed to capitalise on two penalty corners just before halftime, before D'Hooghe saved Georgina Morgan's 41st minute drag flick.

Brooke Peris was green carded in the 42nd and in her absence Lynch made a double save to deny both Alix Gerniers and Jill Boon with a follow-up.

Emily Hurtz was yellow-carded in the 50th minute and Belgium almost capitalised on their numerical advantage again, but Lynch blocked a good diving effort by Anne-Sophie Weyns.

The Hockeyroos had a golden chance to steal the game in final minute with Malone driving forward and firing in a shot, but D'Hooghe was there to deny her.

Peris latched onto the rebound, but the Belgian keeper saved again to deny Australia a victory at the death.

The result guarantees the Hockeyroos a place in the knockout stages as they can now finish no lower than third in Pool D.

However, if they lose or draw their final pool match against New Zealand or Japan beats Belgium by a wide margin on Saturday, Australia could end up in second or third place.

That would mean the Hockeyroos would have to play an extra match in the dreaded play-off round.

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