As Belgium prepare to take on hosts India in the quarterfinals of the Junior Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday, Belgian forward Thibeau Stockbroekx is well aware of the challenge that awaits them.
And their biggest one will be to keep the Indians from scoring from penalty corners. Although India lost their opener against France, they have been lethal from penalty corners and have scored as many as 12 of their 25 goals from the PCs.
“We will have to try to not give India too many penalty corners. Our PC defence also needs to be on the money. We trust our goalkeeper as well as our runners will do their best to keep them out,” Stockbroekx said from Bhubaneswar.
While Belgium lost to India in the final of the 2016 Junior World Cup, he believes they are better prepared this time around and that the group games have helped them to get ready for the knockouts. Belgium won against Chile and South Africa fairly easily but Malaysia took them the distance. Finally, Stockbroekx scored in the fourth quarter from the PC to rescue a point for Belgium. “It was good that we were challenged a lot in these pool games. It can happen in the quarters that we concede early but now we know how to react to it,” he added.
Stockbroekx is the only player in the junior team who has already played for the Belgium senior team and he has been enjoying his role of being a senior in this junior side. “I tell these guys what goes on there and share my experiences with them. I try to motivate them and tell them that this is just the beginning,” said Stockbroekx, who is also studying sports and is in his first year at Belgium’s Thomas More University.Internet Explorer Channel Network