The New Zealand womens hockey team has beaten Belgium 4-2 in their opening game at the World Cup in London.

Belgium led 2-1 at half time with Kelsey Smith scoring for the Black Sticks.

Olivia Merry scores for the Black Sticks. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2017 / Alisha Lovrich

The half-time break proved more advantageous to the New Zealand team as they came out firing on all cylinders.

Just two minutes into the half and Shiloh Gloyn equalled things up from a penalty corner and seconds later Olivia Merry put her side ahead as she strode into Belgium circle and struck home.

The game was finely poised as it entered the final quarter, with Belgium creating pressure but always looking susceptible to an attack from the supremely fit New Zealand side.

Belgium‘s push for a point from the game was thwarted when Olivia Merry converted a penalty stroke just six minutes from time.

Speaking after the game, Olivia Merry said: “The nerves were getting a bit frayed because we were the last match of the first round but we have got that out of our system now. Belgium definitely put us under pressure but we followed our plan and now we will get ready for the game against Japan.”

New Zealand coach Mark Hager said he was happy with the three points despite his side turning the ball over too often.

“The pleasing thing is we came out after half time and executed some corners really well, to come away with a win is good”

‘We didn‘t underestimate Belgium, we are in a really tough pool, we‘re up against Japan next who I thought played really well against Australia‘.

Australia beat Japan 3-2.

The Black Sticks top their pool on goal difference and meet Japan Tuesday night.

-RNZ