FIH Hockey World League Final 2017: Spain grab miraculous victory from the jaws of defeat
- Argentina concede two late goals to slip to last gasp loss.
It seems as if the Spanish dream run in FIH Hockey World League 2017 hasn't ended yet. Who would have thought that the team, which was drubbed 0-5 in their previous match by Belgium, could make a strong comeback.
In the dying minutes of the match held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, they snatched a miraculous victory from the hands of reigning Olympic champions Argentina. Spain's 2-1 triumph also ensured that they finished within the top two in Pool A.
The match began on a tough note, as none of the teams were ready to give in. The first quarter went goalless even as the spectators were getting to witness a neck to neck competition. The Olympic champions from Rio 2016 broke the tension in the 21st minute when attacking midfielder Matias Paredes breached the Spanish defence and struck the ball into the goalpost to secure a handy lead.
Spain tried their best but couldn't break the deficit in the first half. Even the third quarter proved to be a futile exercise as the Argentine defense was solid as a rock. Five minutes into the final quarter, it looked as if Argentina would romp away with a narrow win. However, the Spaniards came out all guns blazing.
The final ten minutes saw the Spanish dream run once again and their efforts soon brought fruits as the experienced Pau Quemada converted a penalty corner into a superb goal in the 50th minute to level the score 1-1.
Argentina could never really recover from that moment. They wasted the next 9 minutes in trying to plug the gaps in their defence. In the 59th minute, only a minute before the final hooter would be struck, the Spaniards were awarded another penalty corner.
A mistake from the Argentine defenders proved too costly as Spain converted the penalty stroke into the winning goal. Josep Romeu's clincher turned out to be the difference in the game.
Following an euphoric triumph, Spain will be full of confidence for their quarterfinal clash which is likely to come against Australia. Argentina, who could find themselves at the bottom of Pool A, may have a tough knockout contest against Germany unless Netherlands lose their final group game by a bigger margin.Published 05 Dec 2017, 20:13 IST