RIO DE JANEIRO — Belgium has done it again.
The men’s field hockey team stunned No. 1 Australia 1-0 on Tuesday. The Belgians moved to 3-0 in Pool A and clinched a spot in the quarterfinals. Tanguy Cosyns scored early in the second period, and goalie Vincent Vanasch and the Belgian defense hung on.
It was just another eye-popping result for the squad. On Sunday, Belgium crushed host Brazil 12-0 and scored the most goals by a men’s Olympic team since the 1980 Games in Moscow.
The sixth-ranked Belgians opened Olympic play by beating highly regarded Britain 4-1. They have outscored their opponents 17-1 at the Games.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Belgium coach Shane McLeod said. “Nine of nine (points in the group), and within that nine, you take the scalp of Australia and GB (Britain) — it’s a really good start.”
Belgium finished fifth at the 2012 Games and eighth in 2008. Before that, the nation hadn’t qualified since 1976. Its only medal came in the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium, a bronze when only four teams competed.
Things could be different this time.
“The word we are using a lot is relentless, and I think that’s a really powerful word in sport because it means you’re not going to stop,” McLeod said. “You just keep going, keep going, if you’re winning, if you’re losing and they love it.”