Champions Trophy: England top group after Belgium draw

Iain Lewers celebrates

A brilliant strike from Iain Lewers earned England a 1-1 draw against Belgium and ensured they top Pool A at hockey's Champions Trophy in India.

England had only needed a draw to win the group but fell behind after nine minutes, and Lewers then missed a chance to level with a penalty stroke.

It was the final quarter when he made amends, firing home from long range.

England progress to Thursday's quarter-finals where they will face Germany, who finished bottom of Pool B.

After an opening victory over world number one side Australia and an 8-2 thrashing of Pakistan, England were in danger of letting all their good work in Bhubaneswar slip against Belgium.

England's results
6 December: England 3-1 Australia
7 December: England 8-2 Pakistan
9 December: England 1-1 Belgium

Amaury Keusters found space in the circle to score with the reverse stick after nine minutes as the Belgians dominated the opening exchanges.

England had a golden chance to level through a penalty stroke with seconds remaining in the half, but after a lengthy delay for a video referral, Lewers could only hit the bar.

The third quarter saw a succession of penalty corners as England pressed hard for the equaliser, but they were almost caught on the break as Keusters rattled the bar in a rare Belgian attack.

The breakthrough finally came when Lewers made space on the edge of the circle and cracked a fierce reverse-stick strike into the bottom corner to equalise, and England survived a couple of nervous moments as the clock ran down.

"It was nice to make up for the [penalty] miss and contribute to the team," said Belfast-born Lewers.

"It happens sometimes but fortunately it didn't have too many consequences. We started to regroup after half-time and we maybe shaded it in the final quarter."

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