Hockey World League Final: Australia beat Argentina 2-1 to retain title
After a goalless first quarter in the FIH Men’s Hockey World League Final (HWLF) gold-medal clash, Jeremy Hayward gave Australian hockey team the lead, while Argentina equalised within seconds through Agustin Bugallo. The winner was scored by Blake Govers in the last quarterUpdated: Dec 11, 2017 19:00 IST
Hindustan Times. Bhubaneswar
Defending champions Australia, who failed to register a single win in three preliminary league matches, went on retain the title by defeating Olympic champions Argentina 2-1 in the final of the World Hockey League Final at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday. (IND vs GER bronze match and ARG vs AUS gold match highlights)
In an absorbing clash between teams occupying the top two spots in the FIH World Rankings, the second ranked Kookaburras got the better of the Rio Games winners. The South Americans will rue their profligacy as they failed to convert any of their four penalty corners while missing three gilt-edged chances in the second half.
Australia, who drew all three league matches before beating Spain in quarterfinals and Germany in the semi-finals, made the most of their chances as they converted both their penalty corners. Though Argentina too didn’t do well in the round robin phase, they also benefitted from the tournament’s format.
After a goalless first quarter, Jeremy Hayward gave Australia the lead when he flicked home their first penalty corner in the 17th minute. But their happiness was short-lived as Argentina equalised within seconds, Agustin Bugallo scoring with a brilliant deflection off a free hit from near the touch line close to the 25-yard line.
Australia had couple of good chances towards the end of the second quarter but Lachlan Sharp shot over the goal once and was thwarted by Argentina custodian Juan Vivaldi the second time.
Just when it looked like the match would go into a shootout, Australia struck the winner off their second penalty corner. Blake Govers stepped up to the plate and sent home a powerful flick that beat Argentine keeper Vivaldi all ends up.
Argentina desperately went in search for another equaliser and created tremendous pressure, earning two penalty corners in the last minute. But Gonzalo Peillat was thwarted on both occasions.
The South Americans missed a golden chance to take the issue into tie-breaker when Diego Paz failed to capitalise on what turned out to be the last action of the match by sending his shot wide.
Australia marginally enjoyed more possession (52%/48%) but Argentina had more shots at goal (9/6). However, in the end the missed penalty corners by Argentina and stout defending by the Kookaburras separated the winner from the loser.
First Published: Dec 10, 2017 22:38 IST