Belgium beat Argentina in shoot-out 3-1 after a score of 1-1 at full time, to book a place for themselves in Hero Hockey World League Final 5th place match against India, who defeated Germany by 5-4 in other 5th-8th classification match.
In the pool match earlier in the tournament, Carlos Retegui’s Los Leones ran out winners. However, in the second meeting of the lions, Belgium got their revenge wining their first match in the tournament and Argentina have lost their second shoot out of the tournament (earlier against New Zealand in quarter-final).
In the first half Argentina soaked up the Belgium pressure with goal keeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi being called into action to make several consecutive saves. The only ball to get past Vivaldi was a shot from Sebastien Dockier, which hit the post.
Finally, after 25 minutes of unrelenting pressure from Belgium, Argentina broke down play and a quick counter attack led to Matias Rey (31′) scoring the opening goal on his 100th cap.
Coach Marc Lammers summed up his team’s problem at half time: “We are playing well, but we have forgotten to score, just like in the other games.”
In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Argentina took a more commanding role, with a series of incursions into the Belgium circle, but again it was a counter attack that nearly brought the second goal, with Dockier unlucky to see his shot fly just inches past the Argentine post.
Belgium continued to raise the tempo of the game, and their equaliser came from an own goal in the 56th minute despite a lengthy video referral.
The last five minutes of the game were one-way traffic, with Belgium creating more scoring chances, but again failing to put them away.
In the shoot out, Belgium won 3-1 meaning they will play in the 5th/6th match tomorrow, while Argentina will contest 7th/8th. One of the Argentinians who missed the goal in the shoot out was Agustin Mazzilli. he said: “It is a big disappointment to lose on shoot outs the second time out We really need to work on it. And now we will give everything to finish seventh.”
Hero Man of the Match Loick Luypaert said: “Whether we play India or Germany in the 5th/6th play off, I don’t care. We played well today and hopefully we have remembered how to score goals.”
After the match, Lammers said: “We were better than Argentina but we needed to get more penalty corners. I am happy to be playing for fifth place now, but I think we had some bad luck in games earlier in this tournament.”
His counterpart, Retegui also felt he had suffered from some bad luck, but he added: “If you told me at the start of this tournament that we would beat the Netherlands and Belgium in the opening matches and only just lose to Australia, I would have not believed you. My players have grown in confidence over the tournament.”