Hockey World Cup 2018, Argentina v Spain: 3 reasons why Argentina won
- Argentina clinched a thrilling 4-3 win over Spain and had quite a few things going in their favor during the match.
Pool A action kicked off in the Hockey Men's World Cup as Argentina and Spain clashed swords in a thrilling encounter. It ended up being a close 4-3 win for the South Americans at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubhaneshwar.
The all-Hispanic affair lived up to its hype as both teams found the back of the net within the opening five minutes of the first quarter. Enrique Gonzalez's 2nd minute goal was equalised by a jaw dropping touch from Agustin Mazzilli only a few minutes later.
Yet, the highlight came in the final minute of the first quarter. Mazzilli's deflection and Gonzalo Piellat's drag flick gave the South Americans a slender 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams failed to replicate their blazing form in the second quarter as the backlines kept things relatively quiet; the scoreline remained intact going into the second half. But with 10 minutes left in the third quarter, a bullet from Vicenc Ruiz thundered into the goal to bring Spain level.
The final quarter kicked off with the scoreline reading 3-3 and Spain failed to convert a penalty corner. They were then put under the pump by another scorcher from Peillat, who converted his second penalty corner to give the lead back to Argentina.
In the end, the four goals sufficed as the Red Sticks failed to score in the final 10 minutes and the Olympic champions clinched an electrifying win in their opening game.
Here are three reasons why Argentina won this clash.
#3 Early first quarter advantage
Enrique Gonzalez opened the scoring in the game as Spain took the initiative. But Man of the Match Agustin Mazzilli's majestic touch only inches away from the goal-mouth found the back of the net - all of this happening within three minutes of the start.
Argentina soon found themselves under the pump yet again as Josep Romeu scored, only to see Mazzilli receive a quick aerial ball from Lucas Vila and deposit behind custodian Quico Cortes.
With only a few seconds left in the first quarter, Argentina earned a penalty corner and turned to their drag flick specialist Gonzalo Peillat, who did not disappoint. Peillat drilled a low ball through the legs of Cortes to hand a 3-2 advantage to Argentina in the opening quarter, and they never trailed in the match after that.
The early advantage ended up being crucial for Argentina, as Spain kept playing catch up after those frenetic opening minutes.