Corners key for McLeod but Belgium in great shape for future

Posted On 19th August 2016

Belgian coach Shane MacLeod said penalty corners were a key difference as Argentina claimed the Olympic gold medal ahead of his side this evening in Deodoro.

The Belgians were unable to convert from their set-pieces while Argentina ended with two from two – one each from Pedro Ibarra and Gonzalo Peillat – to give them a big half-time lead from which they could never close the gap.

“It was quite an even game all in all. The corners became too much of a feature and Argentina did well on their attacking ones and we didn’t do so well in that area.

“With Peillat, it’s always dangerous and it was disappointing we didn’t do a bit better.”

McLeod came into the head coach job in the wake of the European championships last August and saw his side produce a sterling set of performances in his first tournament in charge, topping the group with four wins from five outings.

Speaking about the quick lead-in to the Olympics for him, he said: “It’s hard to describe the impact but I have had a lot of fun.

“I have enjoyed working with this group; you only get a true understanding of the potential of the players when you work with them. With our guys, I have known some of them since they were kids and had quite a good connection which has helped.

“They can trust me and know how I am going to be honest with them on how they play and what we want to do. That’s probably the biggest attribute and we created a winning culture that works hard for results which has been my major driver.”

And he believes the side can use this experience to make another big impact in Tokyo in 2020.

“It’s the third youngest side [in terms of average age in Rio] and the next generation that sits below this is very talented. You’ll see some excellent young players in the Junior World Cup in December who will come through.

“We haven’t got any of the Under-21s here so all of them will be on show and I think Tokyo certainly has to be a similar type of result and something that we will work towards.”

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