The Red Panthers face their second assignment tonight in the World Hockey Championship. With Australia, an opponent of a different caliber than South Africa presents itself. “Belgium has a good chance of beating Australia,” said Sporza journalist Eddie Demares.
Belgium beat South Africa 4-1 in the first match of the Women’s Hockey World Cup. “That’s a distorted picture because the score could have been too high,” says Eddie Demares, who immediately points to one of the Red Panthers’ mission points.
“Performance needs to improve in the circle. The win against South Africa was logical and not huge, but they did what they had to do and it was a comfortable win.”
Australian women, that’s a different story. “Australia are still No. 3 in the world. The Red Panthers are No. 5. Basically it should be exciting. It’s happened against Australia often, although the Australian women have always been a bit stronger.”
Physicality remains the benchmark of Australian hockey, but the Red Panthers have made huge strides in that area.
However, Eddy Demares is confident of Belgium’s chances. “The Red Panthers have never been as good as they are now. They really have a good chance of beating Australia,” it reads.
If successful, the Belgian women also take an option on the team profit. “It immediately means you can only meet the Netherlands and Argentina – world Nos 1 and 2 – in the final.”
Where are Australia’s strengths? “They are very powerful, fast, strong and have a lot of fighting power. Australia’s men’s team is the physical benchmark in hockey. But the Red Panthers have made huge strides in the physical department in recent years. Belgium are stronger. More than ever. And it will be necessary against this Australia.”
“The mental aspect will be important again”
Who will the Red Panthers face on Tuesday night? “21-year-old Charlotte Engelbert is a great talent,” Eddie Demares knows. “She’s already more or less on top of the world, and she will be in the future. She has an act and can finish.”
In the background, 20-year-old Hélène Presseur catches the eye. “She plays center in defense alongside Stephanie Vanden Bohr. They’re an incredibly strong central defense duo together. Presser plays there like he’s been doing it for 10 years.”
“Ambre Palengian, a rising talent in recent years, has been a bit of a blur in the last few games. He’s yet to prove himself in this World Cup. He’s usually a goal-scorer in every match. That’s the best hope. Continuation.”
“However, the important aspect will again be the mental aspect. Let’s see if the Red Panthers are ready to finish those crucial matches against Australia. They have not won in the previous World Cup and Olympic qualifiers. . 2016 and 2020 games.”
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