When the Lions were Olympic champions five years ago at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, only India could defeat them on their way to glory. And precisely India gave the national team a hard blow this Thursday, in a match that was vital for qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 quarterfinals.
The 3 to 1 against Now it forces the Argentines to win yes or yes to New Zealand so as not to depend on anyone.
The first quarter had a lot of Indian prominence, with seven penetrations into the circle against just one from Argentina. But the process was smooth, actually. And even at penalty corners they were balanced: there were no chances for anyone. The selected one always tried and yet, the handling of the ball by his rival prevented him from even forcing situations of real risk.
More of the same happened in the second chapter. India was always more, with a greater dominance before a faded adversary, perhaps still beaten by the defeat suffered against the Australians on the previous date.
Argentina fell to India. Photo Jeff Pachoud / AFP
Already in the second half there was a situation out of context that could have given the Argentines the opening of the scoreboard. Rey had been sanctioned with a green card and, when they gave him the order to re-enter, he suddenly found the ball in his possession and in the middle of a race towards goalkeeper Parattu. At the wheel he lacked the soul of a striker and could not define the clearest of the selected one.
Later, both were the Indians on the arch of Vivaldi that after 10 minutes they reached the first short. And the first was followed by another. And other. Until at 13 minutes Varun Kumar made it 1-0. From how the situation was coming, everything seemed very uphill. However, Argentina found their first short at 18 minutes and, without Tolini on the court, Maico Casella contributed his scoring quota.
The tie allowed the Argentines to balance the game. And possession was no longer so obvious to India. It was evident that it was the best moment in Argentina, who had always run from behind.
Casella even had it with a new short that frustrated the exit. But nevertheless, two mistakes were decisive for the final story. Two minutes from the closing Vivek Prasad took advantage of a defensive lack of intelligence and just 60 seconds later it was Harmanpreet Singh who took advantage of another failure and signed the final result.
The Lions will play qualification against New Zealand. Photo Enric Fontcuberta / EFE
“We knew it was going to be hard from the physical, we ran from behind. We had it last, but distractions are expensive. We have one game left and we are going to die; it’s up to us and we have to win. We defended well, sometimes the games are managed by the opposite and you have to be willing to defend yourself, “the goal scorer from Albiceleste analyzed after the match, in dialogue with TyC Sports.
Juan Manuel Vivaldi, for his part, also pointed out “distractions” and turn the page for the “final” to come.
“He left us in a couple of minutes and this is the tournament: there can be no distractions. The challenge is to recover quickly, because we have a final. We needed more time and games together to overcome adversity and that it does not happen to us here, but we are suffering it in the middle of the tournament “, considered the goalkeeper.
This Friday, from 7am in our country, Argentina will play everything against New Zealand. It will be a true final and the winner will qualify for the quarterfinals of the tournament to continue dreaming of a medal. It will be all or nothing in a match that promises many emotions.
Argentina formed with Juan Manuel Vivaldi; Leandro Tolini, Pedro Ibarra, Nahuel Salis; Juan Martín López, Matías Rey, Lucas Rossi, Ignacio Ortiz; Lucas Vila, Agustín Mazzilli and Nicolás Cicileo. Then Tarazona, Keenan, Casella, Habif and Paz entered.