The Netherlands thrashed Belgium 6-1 in a merciless display on Sunday afternoon. Belgium’s star player Arthur van Doren looks back at the game.
The match had barely started and the Red Lions were 3-0 down to the Netherlands, who were in unforgiving form. Those first six minutes were enough for the Belgian players to hold a quick on-pitch crisis meeting.
Arthur van Doren, world player of the year, was one of the Belgian team who spoke in that impromptu circle, a gathering designed to at least prevent further damage. But whatever was said was not enough to stop the Red Lions eventually losing 6-1.
‘I said that we should not start trying to get back to 3-3,’ Van Doren said after the match, when the shock appeared to have sunk in. ‘I said we had to stay calm and try to gain the upper hand, that we did not have to be overly aggressive in the way we communicated or change our game completely. And that we all needed to improve our play a couple of percent and try to build on that. But, when you look at the score, it did not happen.’
Once the score hit 3-0, Belgium had no chance of claiming victory. And perhaps Van Doren has realised this early on in the game, and so was able to dismiss the loss by saying ‘it is not going to kill us’ and ‘there is no point beating ourselves up’.
Such as score, Van Doren said, is something that can happen at the Champions Trophy. ‘If every team is in top form, every team can beat the other. The difference is in your form on the day,’ he said. ‘I’m not so mean as to deny the Netherlands were a good bit better than we were. But that will only encourage us to seek revenge in the future. The same thing happened to them at the European championships when they lost to us 5-0 in the group stage.’
Nevertheless, Van Doren said he is concerned at the way some of the goals slipped through – against Australia as well as the Netherlands. ‘We’ve let through a number of avoidable goals and that is not typical of the way we play. We have to look long and hard at this and try to turn it around. Otherwise we are going to short-change ourselves this tournament.’