men 34th paredes brace bags bronze for los leones

Coach Retegui completes bronze medal double as Argentina defeat England

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui claimed his second Bronze medal in two days with a 2-0 triumph against England, with Los Leones striker Matias Paredes netting a quick-fire double to shatter English hopes of a place on the Podium at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague.

men 34th paredes brace bags bronze for los leones
men 34th paredes brace bags bronze for los leones

Paredes bagged goals in the 55th and 56th minutes to complete a remarkable double for Retegui, the man who guided Argentina’s women to Bronze just 24 hours earlier. It is the first time that Argentina’s men have ever claimed a medal at a Hockey World Cup, with their previous best being 6th placed finishes that they achieved both in 1986 and 1996.

Not for the first time this tournament, the 11th ranked team upset the odds by battling to a wonderful win over a team that currently sits seven places higher than them in the FIH World Rankings.

“It means so much to all of us”, said overjoyed Argentina captain Lucas Rey after the match.  “What can I tell you, we are so, so happy. We came here in the hope of finishing fifth, but we have kept fighting all tournament.”

The Bronze medal match started in cagey fashion, with both the Argentinean and English defences looking almost impenetrable for most of the opening period. Argentina came closest to opening the scoring when a speculative shot from Guido Barreiros’ hit the outside of the post, while tournament top scorer Gonzalo Peillat forced England goalkeeper George Pinner into making terrific diving glove save in the 30th minute.

England’s best chance came on the stroke of half time thanks to a surging run along the backline from the ever-impressive Barry Middleton, who earned a penalty corner for his team. However, Ashley Jackson’s drag-flick was charged down by an on-rushing Argentine defender before being deemed dangerous by umpire Martin Madden.

England dominated the early stages of the second period, pressing Los Leones deep into their own territory before eventually winning a penalty corner. Ashley Jackson handed flicking duties over to Mark Gleghorne, who brought fine save from Argentine shot-stopper Juan Vivaldi with a high, goal-bound effort.

England’s organised high press made it extremely tough for Argentina to get out of their own half, and when they did they found themselves outnumbered by the Europeans who put in an incredible amount of leg-work to nullify the considerable counter-attacking threat posed by the South Americans.

As the half progressed there were signs that the momentum of the match was beginning to shift, as the live wire Argentinean strikers began to find cracks in the England armour. Peillat saw a powerful penalty corner superbly charged down by an England defender before Matias Paredes turned the match on its head with two goals in two minutes. Both were excellently taken, with the first a composed backhand shot before a terrific close range volley effectively killed off England’s chances of winning a medal.

The Englishmen threw absolutely everything at their opponents in the dying stages, but Argentina defended in numbers and held on for a very famous win.