The Red Lions completed the first task in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Japanese resistance was not broken until after half-time, but the score was still tight: 7-0. The Red Lions will play against Ireland on Monday.
There is always more pressure in the first game in the tournament and the Red Lions seem to have suffered from that as well. Facing the powerful Japanese, who diligently closed all the gaps, they were unable to find the gaps immediately.
But the first penalty kick provided the solution. Luypaert let loose with a clever adjustment and slotted the 1-0 free shot through the Japanese goalkeeper's legs.
The bonus was not extended before the end of the first half, but Japanese resistance was broken at the end of the third quarter. Cosyns fired a corner kick into the net and Onana powered the ball 3-0 into the short corner after great control.
After Bonn's smart 4-0 win, the Belgians looked to have finished the match professionally, but they saved one last flame in the final minutes. Van Opel scored two more goals and Boone scored his second as well.
With the 7-0 win, the Red Lions got off to a good start in the Olympic qualifiers. The second match will be held on Monday, in which Ireland will be the opponent.
Loïck Luypaert broke the embargo imposed on Japan. “It's a great start to the tournament: we scored 7 goals and didn't miss any real chances. Japan is a tough team and we needed some time to open the game.”
Top scorer Nelson Onana said: “At the beginning of the match, we immediately felt that it would not be easy against a strong mass.” “But we stayed calm and focused. After the break we were able to distance ourselves.”
“We couldn't think of a better way to start a tournament like this,” said Tanguy Cousins, who also scored. “A tournament like this is always difficult, just look at the Red Panthers on Saturday. Olympic tickets are at stake and that makes it special. That's why it's so important that we start with a strong victory.”
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