Bitter end to home campaign

Hockey: Argentina thrash India to claim seventh position

Bitter end to home campaign

India's Prabhjot Singh reacts after losing to Argentina during the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Cup 2010 field hockey match. APArgentina carried quite a sting on counters and coupled with a now-familiar no-show by their backline, India suffered a 2-4 defeat in the contest for the seventh and eighth places.

Eighth place might look like an improvement given the country’s world ranking of 12 but on Friday, very little of that was on view at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium as they ended the tournament with just one win.

Pathetic is the only word to describe the Indian performance on the day. For the better part of the match, they were clueless in front of the Argentine striking circle. By crowding out their ‘D’ the Argentines successfully kept the Indian forwardline silent. As in previous games, they then fell behind and played out a futile salvage operation.

Tomas Argento’s goal in the 28th minute was cancelled out by Sandeep Singh’s penalty stroke conversion in the 42nd but thereafter, India conceded three goals in the space of four minutes, killing whatever hopes they might have nursed of finishing higher up in the standings.

Cheered on by their women’s squad and actress Priyanka Chopra, India made the early play but Fernando Zylberberg’s long hit into the striking circle caused the initial damage as both Martin Lucas Vila and Argento were unmarked in front of the goal. Vila trapped it and squared it for Argento to tap in.

A stick-check on Vikram Pillay by Matias Damian Vila fetched India a stroke and Sandeep, who had missed two penalty corners earlier, converted without fuss. India should have tightened up their play but by defending in school-boyish fashion, they extended an open invitation to the Argentines to party. The South Americans grabbed it with both hands.

Martin Vila scored off a penalty corner to wrest the lead back in the 43rd minute. Two minutes later, he again struck off a pass from Nicolas Almada. Danish Mujtaba’s error then compounded India’s woes as Facundo Callioni fired in Argentina’s fourth goal in the 46th minute.

The hosts made concerted efforts and a couple of chances went astray, but barring Shivender Singh’s goal in the 49th minute, they were unable to make an impression on the score sheet as Argentina celebrated another Indian conquest.

Kiwis ninth
New Zealand defeated South Africa 5-4 in sudden death to take the ninth place. The regulation time and extra-time ended with the scoreboard reading 4-4.

In regulation period, Andrew Hayward scored a hat-trick for New Zealand while Hugo Inglis netted the other. The South African strikes came from Justin Reid-Ross, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Taine Paton and Thomas Hammond.

The teams were level 4-4 after the tie-breaker but Kiwi goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex saved Lloyd Madsen’s stroke in sudden death and Doug Couzins converted his attempt to seal the issue for New Zealand. Later, two goals by Pol Amat helped Spain defeat South Korea 2-0 for the fifth place. The Koreans ended sixth.

Today’s action
Saturday’s matches.
*3-4: England vs Netherlands (3.35 pm).
* Final: Germany vs Australia (6.05 pm).
Matches live on TEN Sports

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