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Indian men down Spain in shootout, Argentina beat Germany, Dutch edge Ireland as Leonas fall to Die Danas

Lausanne, Switzerland: On the final day in Santiago del Estero, Argentina and Germany couldn’t break a 2-2 deadlock and headed to a shootout for the second time in the mini-tournament. Lucas Martinez scored the winner for the Leones to take the bonus point with a 4-3 shootout result. Two first-half goals and a solid defensive performance gave the German women a 2-0 win over the Leonas, their first win over Argentina in the teams’ last eight matchups. 

Earlier in the day at the men’s mini-tournament in Rourkela, India, the ever-improving Irish put in a brave performance against the Dutch. But two goals from the men’s FIH Hockey Pro League top scorer this season, Jip Janssen, saw the Netherlands securing a 2-1 win. 

The later match was a hotly contested thriller between India and Spain, with the home side eventually edging it in a shootout after the teams remained locked on 2-2 in regulation time..

(Men’s) Ireland 1 – 2 Netherlands

 Back-to-back FIH Hockey Pro League champions the Netherlands had to grind out their 2-1 win over debutants Ireland, who are proving to be tough competitors despite their lack of exposure at the highest level. The Irish defended well before taking the lead against the run of play in the 12th minute, Matthew Nelson banging in a penalty corner rebound. The Dutch hit back with two Jip Janssen drag flicks, one in the 15th minute, and another in the 23rd that struck a brave postman hard on the way in. The Dutch led 2-1 at half-time but their error rate was poor by their exceptional standards.

 While the second half remained goalless, it didn’t lack entertainment. The Dutch dominated the stats with plenty of strong circle entries and penalty corners, but they lacked their usual clinical touch and were denied by the brilliant Irish defensive effort led by Jamie Carr in goal.

 The player of the match went to Jorrit Croon of the Netherlands, who said: “Ireland did a really good job, all the credit to them. It was a tough evening for us, but in the end really happy with the three points and that’s what it’s about… and a good start in Rourkela.”

(Men’s) India 2 – 2 Spain (SO: 8 – 7)

 Hosts India played out a riveting 2-2 draw against Spain with both teams earning a point each. The Indians went on to claim the bonus point by winning the shootout 8-7. Jarmanpreet Singh gave India the perfect start when he collected an overhead in the opening minute and slammed it in from an acute angle. But José Basterra struck back immediately for the Spanish, his third-minute drag flick giving the Red Sticks a chance to settle down. Borja Lacalle then snatched a stunning field goal for Spain from a long-range counterattack following an Indian error just seconds from the quarter mark. The Spanish went on to dominate the remainder of the first half and led 2-1 at half-time.

 India started the third quarter well as Abhishek pounced on a penalty corner rebound for the equaliser in the 35th minute. The rest of the match was tightly contested with goalkeepers PR Sreejesh for India and Rafael Revilla for Spain both doing excellent work. The final quarter was a frantic affair full of opportunities, dramatic video referrals, and tension, but neither team could find a winning goal. The shootout delivered more exciting action with 15 consecutive goals scored, the match eventually ending with Spanish captain Marc Miralles putting his shot wide, much to the relief of the local fans.

 India’s Abhishek received the player of the match award and said: “We’re very happy with the performance because, despite Spain making a great comeback, we could edge ahead in the shootout.”

(Men’s) Argentina 2 – 2 Germany (SO: 4 – 3)

In the final day of the mini-tournament in Santiago del Estero, hosts Argentina came out of the gate in good form. Nicolas della Torre and Tomas Domene each released superb drag flicks on the game’s opening two penalty corners for a 2-0 Argentina lead. Germany were flat and uninspiring despite loading their roster with a more experience side from a day earlier against Belgium. Late in the first half Germany started to show some flair as hard work for Raphael Hartkopf created a chance for Paul-Philipp Kaufmann to one-time on goal. The ball was well struck and keeper Tomas Santiago got a piece of it but Hartkopf finished the run and tapped in to cut Argentina’s lead to one. 

Germany came out of the gate with good intensity and were rewarded just moments into the third quarter. A brilliant ball across the goal was deflected in by Elian Mazkour to make it 2-2. Both teams struggled to look threatening in the circle as play hypnotically moved between the 23-meter areas and for the second-consecutive match-up the game needed a shootout. An important save from Tomas Santiago on Malte Helwig, followed by a great finish from Lucas Martinez gave Argentina the 4-3 shootout win and the bonus point. 

Player of the match honors went to Argentina’s Nicolas della Torre who scored in the shootout and was a key cog to the Argentine defence. Della Torre said after the match he was pleased with how well the team played and commented that they played as a team and won using a lot of their skills.

(Women’s) Argentina 0 – 2 Germany

Despite having most of the pace and possession, Argentina struggled to generate quality scoring chances against Germany. Two first-half penalty corners that were mistrapped and circle entries with no outcome was the story of Argentina’s performance. Die Danas capitalised on their few chances, first on a penalty corner deflected into Valentina Raposo’s body on the line giving Viktoria Huse the go-ahead finish from the stroke mark.  Argentina continued to hunt for an equaliser but despite a high count of circle penetrations, German keeper Nathalie Kubalski had yet to be tested. At the other end, a quick free hit left Argentina scrambling and a ball from Jette Fleschütz found its way through traffic to a waiting Pauline Heinz at the back post to lift Die Danas 2-0. 

The second half was all Argentina but the Leonas lacked that clinical quality expected of the No. 2 ranked team in the world. Two Agustina Gorzelany flicks were steered away by the gloves of Kubalski, while a goalmouth scramble was cleared on the line by Jule Bleuel and shots from Maria Granatto and Agustina Albertarrio went uncharacteristically unconverted. Kubalski then denied Victoria Manuele from close range and another Gorzelany flick to seal Germany’s first win over Argentina since 2021.

Germany’s captain Nike Lorenz was named Player of the Match and commented after the win: “It was definitely an intense game but it was a lot of fun, honestly, and to play on such a high level. It is always great competing in Argentina against Argentina is one of the best games we can play in the world because it is one of the best levels. It is a lot of fun although it is really exhausting. We are happy we won and it was a great turnaround.”

Top Scorer Armband

 To celebrate the talented goal-scorers throughout the season the FIH has introduced the Top Scorer Armband, which is being worn by the leading goal-scorers in the men’s and women’s competitions in the current season, as a visual mark for the fans, and for the players to wear proudly, match after match.

Current Top Scorers:

 Women – Yibbi Jansen (NED) (15 goals)

Men – Jip Janssen (NED) (9 goals)

 To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.

FIH Pro League – 19 February 2024

 Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, Rourkela (IND)

 Result: Match 22 (M)
Ireland 1 – 2 Netherlands
Player of the match: Jorrit Croon (NED)
Umpires: Martin Madden (SCO), Kristy Robertson (AUS), Gareth Greenfield (NZL-reserve), Junko Wagatsuma (JPN-video)

Result: Match 24 (M)
India 2 – 2 Spain (SO: 8 – 7)
Player of the match: Abhishek (IND)
Umpires: Gareth Greenfield (NZL), David Tomlinson (NZL), Junko Wagatsuma (JPN-reserve), Kristy Robertson (AUS-video)

Santiago del Estero, Argentina (ARG)

Result: Match 23 (M)
Argentina 2 – 2 Germany (SO: 4 – 3)
Player of the match: Nicolás della Torre (ARG)
Umpires: Tyler Klenk (CAN), Sean Rapaport (RSA), Irene Presenqui (ARG-reserve), Victoria Pazos (PAR-video)

Result: Match 32 (W)
Argentina 0 – 2 Germany
Player of the match: Nike Lorenz (GER)
Umpires: Maggie Giddens (USA), Benjamin Peters (USA), Irene Presenqui (ARG-reserve), Victoria Pazos (PAR-video)

-FIH

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