World Cup Qualifers Ireland 0 Belgium 3 (J Truyens, J Dekeyser, B van Hove)
Ireland crashed to a 3-0 loss to world number nine side Belgium in Quilmes, Argentina last night to deal a severe blow to their hopes of taking the last remaining place in the 2010 Wold Cup.
The Irish fell behind to a Belgian blitz in the opening ten minutes as Jerome Truyens capitalised on a defensive mishap to open the deadlock in the 4th minute before Jerome Dekeyser made it 2-0 with barely ten minutes played when he latched onto Xavier Reckinger assist.
A couple of penalty corner efforts were the best the Irish could muster before half-time but the Belgians killed the game off when Benjamin van Hove shot past David Harte, on his 50th cap, to make it 3-0. It also proved a disappointing milestone day for Eugene Magee on the occasion of his 100th cap, becoming the youngest Irish player to reach that mark at 23 years and 231 days.
Ireland had a few half chances late on through Magee, Mikey Watt and Johnny Jackson but scarcely threatened an upset. Belgium had a 50th minute Tom Boon strike disallowed while the disappointing day was complete when Conor Harte was sin-binned in the 66th minute.
Pedro Ibarra struck five times for the Argentines as they beat Chile 7-3 to move level with Belgium at the top of the table on nine points while the Czechs got their first win of the campaign, beating the USA comfortably 3-1.
Ireland must now win their last two group games against the Czech Republic (Thursday) and Argentina (Saturday) to have any chance of progressing.
Manager Peter Jackson said after the game: "Whilst we are disappointed with the result today, this tournament is only half way through. We have two more matches before finals day on Sunday and we have everything to play for against Czech Republic and Argentina. That is our focus."
Ireland: David Harte, John Jackson, Ronan Gormley (capt), Mikey Watt, Stephen Butler, John Jermyn, Eugene Magee, Graham Shaw, Timmy Cockram, Conor Harte, Timmy Lewis Subs: Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern, Geoff McCabe, David Ames, Paul Gleghorne
Results: Ireland 0 Belgium 3 (Jerome Truyens, Jerome Dekeyser, Benjamin van Hove); Chile 3 Argentina 7; USA 1 Czech Republic 3 Standings: 1. Belgium 9pts (+15) 2. Argentina 9pts (+10) 3. Ireland 6pt (+5) 4. Czech Republic (-8) 5. Chile 0pts (-10) 6. USA 0pts (-12)
* Photos courtesy of hockey.be; video courtesy of WorldHockey