The Lions lost an incredible game and were left out of the World Cup

The Lions missed an incredible chance to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Field Hockey World Cup taking place in India. The National Team was ahead 5-3 in the last quarter, South Korea tied it 5-5 in regulation time and then prevailed 3-2 in the definition by Australian penalties to eliminate the Argentine team.

After a very good first phase, Los Leones had the illusion of playing the quarterfinals against the Netherlands but now they will continue to compete to define the final position (from 9th to 16th place), no longer having a chance to fight for the title. The next game will be on Thursday at 8:00 (Argentine time) against Chile in the city of Rourkela.

Maico Casella, Nicolás Keenan and Nicolás Della Torre -both twice- scored the goals for Argentina, which led the score four times, including 5-3 when the quarterfinal was played. Jang Jonghyun, on two occasions, Kim Sunghyun, Jeong Junwoo and Lee Nam Yong scored the goals for the Asian team, which led the definition to the shootout with a goal five minutes from time.

In the Australian penalties, the Argentines made their nervousness clear after the squandered chance in regulation time and could not show their best version: Tomás Domene, Lucas Toscani and Martín Ferreiro failed, while Keenan and Casella converted.

With this historic victory, South Korea will play next Wednesday at 8:00 against the Netherlands, who went straight to the quarterfinals for being first in Group C. The Dutch team starts as favorites since they passed the group stage with an ideal score, 22 goals for and none against and also won three world titles and was runner-up in the last two editions.

The Lions, who came to this World Cup with eleven rookie players, showed great offensive power but, at the same time, a weak counterpart in defense. Argentina’s path began with the victory (1-0) against South Africa, then a draw with Australia (3-3) and France (5-5) and by finishing second in Group A they had to play the round of 16 (crossover) against South Korea.

The Lions took the lead after 7 minutes due to Casella’s goal. Already in the second quarter, South Korea turned it around but Argentina reacted and went into the break 3-2 ahead. With an effective penalty corner, the Asian team leveled the game at the start of the third quarter but Della Torre, in the same way, made it 4-3 to reach the fourth quarter with an advantage. Keenan made it 5-3 for Los Leones in the last quarter but ten minutes from the end and in just six minutes history changed with two new penalty corners converted by the Koreans.

The Argentine team, directed by Mariano Ronconi, formed with Santiago Tomás; Juan Catán, Nicolás Keenan, Maico Casella, Lucas Toscani, Nicolás Della Torre, Nicolás Cicileo, Santiago Tarazona, Federico Monja, Thomas Habif and Captain Matías Rey.

“It’s difficult to analyze the game at this time, the first thing I feel is a very big disappointment. We didn’t get what we wanted,” Ronconi lamented after the match in statements to ESPN.

The head coach he focused on the weak defensive work of his team, who conceded four goals via penalty corner: “Hockey is an area sport and if you defend badly in your own, you lose.”

“Beyond the disappointment, I want to make it clear that we are super happy because the boys left everything to go to the next round. This is a young team, most of the players made their debut in the World Cup and it means a lot of learning. The experience consists of it is knowing how to handle emotions and in this type of situation emotions play a role for everyone”, reflected Ronconi in closing.

In addition to the Netherlands-South Korea, the other quarterfinal matches will be: Belgium-New Zealand on that side of the key, and Australia-Spain and England-Germany on the other.

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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