Red Lions come from behind to secure opening win against England

The Belgian men's hockey team won their opening game at the European Championships in Mönchengladbach, Germany, on Sunday with a 5-3 victory over England. The Red Lions struggled to find their stride and trailed 3-1 at half-time, but they turned the tables after the break.

Nicholas Bandurak gave England an early lead. William Ghislain equalised but Bandurak put England ahead for the second time with a penalty. Sam Ward's 30th-minute penalty made it 3-1 at half-time. The Lions came out of the break energised and Florent Van Aubel brought Belgium level with two quick goals. Well-taken penalty corners from Loïck Luypaert and Alexander Hendrickx put the game beyond doubt in the third quarter.

Shared lead

The Belgians now share top spot in Group A with Spain. Earlier on Sunday, the Spaniards crushed Austria 5-0. The Red Lions will play their second group match against Spain on Monday at 20.30.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the semi-finals, with the overall winner qualifying directly for next year's Olympic Games in Paris. Belgium are the reigning Olympic champions and were runners-up at the latest world championships.



England's David Goodfield and Belgium's Arnaud Van Dessel © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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