An impressive England continued their unbeaten run and defeated Belgium by a solitary goal in a hard-fought match to become the first team to book their place in the semi-finals of the Hero Hockey World League Final, here Wednesday.

The Englishman showed great resilience to soak up sustained pressure from Belgium and looked very uncomfortable at times.

England should thank their goalkeeper George Pinner to keep them in hunt for the title with numerous good saves.

Belgium were by far looked sharp in attack and caught the England napping a number of times in the first half.

After a closely-fought but barren first half, Belgium once again seized the initiative by winning a penalty corner in the opening minute but Pinner once again came to the rescue of England.

Dan Fox charged through the Belgium defence to win England their first penalty corner but to no avail.

Two more penalty corners to England increased the pressure on the Belgium defence and it was Tom Carson (47th minute) who broke the deadlock with a fierce drag-flick.

Both the teams continued at an intense pace but it was world No 4 England who were forced to put up a staunch defence as Belgium piled on the pressure.

English custodian Pinner made double saves at first denying Boon and then Gauthier Boccard to keep a clean slate for his team and held on to the decisive lead.

England will play the winners of the third quarterfinal between New Zeland and Argentina in the semifinals, while Belgium will be up against the loser of that encounter.


Netherlands knocks out Germany, enters semisJanuary 15, 2014

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