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FIH World League Argentina crush hapless India, Germany and Netherlands stay even

Photo courtesy: FIH
Photo courtesy: FIH

The Indian hockey team were crushed by a ruthless Argentina outfit in the opening encounter of the FIH World League Finals in Raipur. They scored early and kept the pressure throughout the match, and the final score-line of 0-3 could have been a lot worse for India if Sreejesh had not continued his fine form under the bar.

Gonzalo Peillat was the hero for the visitors and proved to be too hot to handle for the Indian defence. He scored twice through penalty-corners with neatly executed and powerful drag-flicks to seal the match for the 5th ranked team. Joaquin Menini slotted in the other goal after a brilliant play pierced the Indian defence.

Even though the matches are only preparations for the quarter-finals, India would be disappointed after being completely outplayed by a superior team. The 6th ranked Indian team looked mentally and physically deflated. As a result, there was no intensity in their game. Ramandeep Singh’s failure to latch on to an easy scoring opportunity summed up the performance of the home team.

In the post-match presentation, Argentina’s star drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat said, “We started very well, the intensity was very good. We earned enough corners. Now we need to think how we play against Holland as they have a really good team.”

On the other hand, the Indian coach Roelant Oltmans’ frustration was evident. He advised his players to not dwell on the result and shift their focus to the next contest against Germany. He stated, “The first half could have been better. We did more in the second half but it was still not enough. Today we haven’t deserved anything. We need to recover quickly now because the next match is tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, the tussle between Germany and The Netherlands ended in a stalemate after both teams failed to utilize scoring opportunities. The usually efficient Germans were content in playing the waiting game which meant that the Dutch had to force the initiative. Consequently, the keenly contested battle finished in a goal-less draw.

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