HOCKEYWORLD CUP 2018: France stun Olympic champs Ar­gentina, Spain out

The Northlines - - SPORTS - Bhubaneswar, Dec 07

Un­be­liev­able is the word that sums up the match be­tween France and Ar­gentina. No­body could have imag­ined world No. 2 and reign­ing Olympic cham­pi­ons Ar­gentina los­ing to France, the low­est-ranked team in the tour­na­ment at 20.

But the French hockey team shocked the South Amer­i­cans 5- 3 at the Kalinga Hockey Sta­dium in Bhubaneswar on Thurs­day to stay in con­tention. Thurs­day was the third time the two sides faced each other in World Cup — af­ter 1971 and 1990 and on both the oc­ca­sions, the South Amer­i­cans came out win­ners.

France, play­ing a World Cup af­ter 28 years, took a sur­prise 4-1 lead af­ter only two quar­ters.

Taken aback, Ar­gentina who are also known as ‘ The Lions’, hit back late and made it 3-4 with nine min­utes to go. It seemed the South Amer­i­cans would come back to win but then France stepped up the in­ten­sity to cause the big­gest upset of the tour­na­ment.

“It was a cru­cial game for us and the fu­ture of hockey in France de­pended a lot on our per­for­mance at the World Cup. Our team did us proud,” said France coach Jeroen Delmee. “For the last two years, we were pre­par­ing hard for the World Cup and the way our team played to­day gives us con­fi­dence to take on the world’s best in the fu­ture. Our aim is to be among the top-10 in the world,” the coach added.

France player Gas­pard Baum­garten said, “Be­fore the game, we never thought we would dom­i­nate the match. But as the match pro­gressed, the mo­men­tum car­ried us.”

For France, Hugo Gen­estet (18), Vic­tor Charlet (23), Aris­tide Coisne ( 26), Gas­pard Baum­garten (30) and Fran­cois Goyet (54) were the scor­ers, while for Ar­gentina af­ter Lu­cas Mar­tinez’s goal in the 28th minute, Gon­zalo Peil­lat scored twice in the 44th and 48th minute.

Spain, who drew 2-2 with New Zealand ear­lier in the evening, crashed out of the tour­na­ment af­ter fin­ish­ing fourth. Both France, who fin­ished se­cond in the group and third- placed New Zealand will play cross­over games. Ar­gentina, de­spite the loss, topped Pool A and made it to the quar­ter-fi­nals.

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