BHUBANESWAR (AFP) – Tom Boon slammed in a last-gasp penalty corner to help Belgium force a dramatic 4-4 draw from world number ones Australia in the Champions Trophy field hockey tournament in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
Ruthless England destroyed Pakistan 8-2 in another pool A match of the eight-nation tournament at the Kalinga stadium, to build on the 3-1 win over World Cup holders Australia in their opening game.
Australia, who have won the last five Champions Trophy titles, appeared headed for an easy victory over Belgium when they ran up a 3-0 lead by the 21st minute.
But the fast-improving Belgians, ranked fourth in the world, scored twice in quick succession to make it 2-3 at half-time.
Flynn Ogilvie scored his first international goal to extend the Kookaburras’ lead to 4-2 in the 37th minute, but John-John Dohmen narrowed the margin for Belgium soon after.
The determined Belgians forced a series of penalty corners in the last quarter and were rewarded with just three seconds remaining in the match when Boon recovered a miscued drag-flick after a penalty corner and smashed in the equaliser.
Belgium, who defeated Pakistan 2-1 in their opening match on Saturday, have four points from two games.
The new-look Kookaburras, rebuilding after the retirement of veterans Liam de Young and Rob Hammond earlier this year and missing the injured duo of Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles, were left with just one point.
England, who finished a credible fourth at the World Cup in the Netherlands in June, pumped in four goals in the second quarter to take a 5-0 lead over hapless Pakistan by half-time.
Two more goals on either side of the third and fourth quarters increased the tally to 7-0 before Muhammad Qadir put Pakistan on the board three minutes from the end.
Chris Griffith made it 8-1 before Muhammad Irfan netted a last-minute penalty corner to score Pakistan’s second goal.
English veteran Ashley Jackson said his team were already looking ahead at the rest of the tournament after recording their biggest Champions Trophy win over Pakistan.
“Hopefully, we can be part of something very special if we keep improving like this,” Jackson said. “We want to go from here with some good medals.”
Pakistan coach Shahnaz Sheikh said the better fitness and speed of European teams were the main causes of his team’s two back-to-back defeats.
“We Asians just can’t match the power of the Europeans,” the former international said. “This tournament will be a good learning experience for my boys.”
Pakistan, who did not qualify for the World Cup, also failed to earn a direct entry to the 2016 Olympics after losing to India in the Asian Games final in October.
In pool B matches later on Sunday, the Netherlands take on Germany and India play Argentina.
The preliminary group stage determines the line-up for the knock-out rounds that will be contested by all eight sides.