Odisha HWC 2018: Argentina, New Zealand start well
New Zealand’s Black Sticks and Los Leones of Argentina both registered victories over France and Spain respectively on match day two of the ongoing Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
Argentina (FIH Hero World Ranking: 2) engaged Spain (WR:8) in the day’s opening game. A high attacking game witnessed five goals inside the opening quarter. Enrique Gonzalez gave Spain’s Red Sticks the lead before Agustin Mazzilli leveled for Argentina. Josep Romeu restored Spain’s lead and Mazzilli again getting the equaliser for Argentina. Penalty corner expert Gonzalo Peillat with a drag-flicked effort put Argentina ahead for the first time in the game with a 3-2 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Spain restored parity five minutes into the third quarter through Vincenc Ruiz. Peillat grabbed the winner for Argentina with another trademark penalty corner effort; two goals from two penalty corners.
The day’s second match; another closely contested encounter saw France (FIH Hero World Ranking: 20) give New Zealand (WR:8) a tough opposition. A goalless first quarter eusured both teams were still in the game until the first minute of the second quarter when Kane Russell’s strike from open play gave New Zealand the lead.
Odisha Player of the Match Stephen Jenness increased the tally for the Black sticks four minutes from time with a goal that looked to have grabbed all maximum points. France got a consolation in the dying minutes from skipper Victor Charlet’s penalty corner to end the match 2-1 in favor of New Zealand.
South African umpire Peter Wright was presented with his Golden Whistle in recognition of umpiring 100 international matches immediately after officiating the game. Wright received his award from FIH President Dr Narinder Bhatra.
The competition continues on Friday 30 November with two matches in Pool B. Reigning world champions Australia (WR:1) start their title defence against Ireland (WR:10), before England (WR:7) and China (WR:17) take to the field in the second match.