Bhubaneswar: In a major upset, world number seven England cruised past Rio Olympics champion Argentina 3-2 to make their way into the semi-final round of the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup here at the Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday.
The match which was heading forward on a steady pace till the first half, suddenly took a stormy turn when Will Calnan of England scored a smashing goal in the 40th minute of the match to give his side a 2-1 lead in the match. The goal was followed by some tense action on the field as Argentina strived super hard for the lead.
In the third minute of the final quarter, Argentina won a penalty corner. The scoring chance was missed but in those moments of intense pressure, the trailing side got three penalty corners in quick succession. Argentina’s star drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat, who has smashed over 131 international goals in the past four years, did not disappoint his side and scored an equaliser in the 48th minute of the match.
Adding to the spectators’ tension, England’s Harry Martin did not even take a minute post Argentina’s goal and put his side in the lead again.
With scoreline reading 3-2 in England’s favour, Argentina unsurprisingly showed sudden urgency in their play. Repeated attempts to get past the goal post was a reflection of their urge to score as it was their last chance to keep themselves alive in the prestigious competition.
But there was no sign of respite for them as in the 56th and 58th minute of the match, their two players were off the field as they were shown a yellow card. Argentina had lost all the chances of revival now and the final hooter was proof of the same.
Despite gaining the initial momentum after scoring the first goal of the match, Argentina could not maintain the same in their subsequent quarters. England, who had earned the quarters berth after beating New Zealand in the crossovers, displayed some impressive hockey skills to stun the higher ranked Argentina.
Next, Australia and France will be locking horns to cement a spot in the semi-final of the prestigious tournament.