Field Hockey Canada > Backs against the wall: Canada plays for their Olympic lives

Canada takes on Belgium in desperate last stand in Tokyo

The reigning World Champions, Belgium, stand between Canada and a chance to advance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Following heartbreaking losses to Great Britain and Netherlands, Canada now sits on the precipice of Olympic elimination. With two games remaining, Canada needs to notch wins against both Belgium and South Africa in order to have a shot to move forward in the tournament.

Read: Match Recap – Canada vs Netherlands

Often, tournament play is decided by moments; Specific moments that make or break your event. Both the GB game and the Dutch game featured such moments in the fourth quarters. Moments that had they gone differently, we’d be writing an entirely different story. However, here the team is, preparing for a last stand against the undefeated Belgium Red Lions.

Belgium won the silver medal in Rio at the Olympics and are looking to make the step up to the top of the podium. They are undefeated in pool play so far, having defeated South Africa, Germany and Netherlands and will face Great Britain to close out their pool on July 30.

This is a Belgian team of deep experience and success in recent years. 14 of their players have over 100 caps, 10 of which have over 200. Canada will have their hands full on the defensive side against the ageless John-John Dohmen, penalty corner specialist Alexander Hendrickx, and the experienced attacking prowess of Cedric Charlier. Veteran defender Arthur van Doren and keeper, Vincent Vanasch have kept the door shut on the defensive side of the ball.

Belgium won the European championships in 2019, qualifying them for this event. They won the 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneswar, and recently won the bronze medal at the 2021 Euro Hockey Championships and were crowned the 2020-21 FIH Pro League Champions.

Canada will need to find some offense if they want to take down the reigning world champs in this crucial Olympic match-up. Most of Canada’s offense has come from the sticks of Floris van Son and Keegan Pereira. In the game against Netherlands, a more balanced attack showed up, including Jamie Wallace, Oliver Scholfield and flashes from Matt Sarmento, with Sukhi Panesar moving into a more attacking midfield position. Canada will have to show some of that desperation to get forward and get chances against a stingy Belgian team.

Mark Pearson and Scott Tupper connected for a beautiful penalty corner goal. If Canada can get into the circle and generate chances, they have a great double threat of Tupper and Johnston at the top of the PC unit.

A team with their backs against the wall taking on a hockey powerhouse looking to win the pool. It has all the makings of a thrilling, desperate affair.


All Team Canada field hockey action will be streamed/televised live by CBC. Click below for streaming details. In addition, Field Hockey Canada will be hosting an online chat-thread for every game, and special watch parties for our Great Britain and Belgium games. See below for more details.