22 Jun 2013

Black Sticks beaten by Belgium

5:30 pm on 22 June 2013

The New Zealand men's hockey team will have to settle for the bronze medal playoff after being beaten 3-2 in the semi-finals by Belgium at the World League in Rotterdam.

Having trailed for much of the game, the Black Sticks rallied and battled desperately in search of an equalising goal in the final 15 minutes but couldn't convert off a penalty corner opportunity.

In the playoff for third place, New Zealand face hosts the Netherlands, who lost 4-3 to the Australians in the other semi-final, with a guaranteed spot at the 2014 World Cup on the line.

The head coach Colin Batch was pleased with his side's desperation in the late stages but says it's disappointing not to come away with a result he feels they could have taken.

Belgium opened the scoring in the sixth minute then New Zealand responded 10 minutes later courtesy of a Blair Hilton goal.

Belgium scored twice more before the Black Sticks lifted their intensity thanks to an Andy Hayward goal.