|March 12th, 2010|
|35||Final 7-8||6:00pm||ARG - IND||4 - 2 (1 - 0)||Final|
India was playing to salvage some pride in “their” World Cup and to confirm their progression, since a 7th (or even 8th) place would be their best result since 1994 after their dismal performances in 1998 (9th), 2002 (10th) then Monchengladbach (11th). The crowd was smaller than on the initial days but was supporting the home team as enthusiastically as ever.
India had an early penalty-corner but Sandeep SINGH’s flick was way too high. They kept dominating the early stages of the match, raising waves of expectations with each run and each dribble, but the Argentinean were prepared for this initial surge and weathered the storm as well as they could. The best chance was for Gurwinder Singh CHANDI at the conclusion of a vast Indian movement but his shot from the top of the circle was wide. Argentina were trying to find their high forwards with long aerial ball, a tactic that proved inefficient.
Indian skipper Rajpal SINGH was very active on their front line, but they could not generate many clear chances and Argentina started to push more, opening the scoring in the 28th minute by Tomas ARGENTO, poaching a ball behind Indian goalkeeper Adrian D'SOUZA. India had another chance on penalty-corner but Fernando ZYLBERBERG saved it on the line and India found themselves empty-handed again despite having done most of the work in a highly entertaining first period played at blistering speed.
India were all over the Argentinean circle as soon as play resumed after half-time. The South Americans were saved by a video-umpire referral that reversed a penalty-corner call and both goal-keepers were called into action in quick succession in this fast flowing game going end-to-end. India were awarded a penalty-stroke in the 42nd minute after a stick tackle and Sandeep SINGH officiated to pull his team level. However, the ecstatic cheers had not yet died down that Lucas VILA had scored at the other end on a penalty-corner! He added a field goal soon after, followed by another field goal by Facundo CALLIONI, and Argentina were suddenly up by three goals, with the crowd in a stunned silence.
Shivendra SINGH gave back some hope in the 49th minute, picking up his own rebound from close range. With twenty minutes left on the clock, Argentina were facing a long end of match and were concentrating their strength on their defense, anchored by an imperial Pedro IBARRA. With times passing, India seemed to lose hope, their passes became less precise and their dribbles erratic; Argentina pushed forward and completely overwhelmed the Indian defense on two occasions but missed their fifth goal by a whisker.
Despite the drums in the stands, India could not rekindle the magic and Argentina ran away with the win and the seventh place. They played well in this World Cup and could even have finished higher without some of their narrow losses (against Korea and Germany) earlier in the competition.
Match Facts (Argentina v. India):
> Argentina beat India to finish 7th, their best World Cup result since 2002, when they were placed 6th.
> In 1994 Argentina also finished 7th, beating Korea on penalty strokes.
> For India 8th place is their best World Cup ranking since 1994, when they were placed 5th.
> India’s 8th place finish equals the lowest ranking for a World Cup host. Argentina (1978) and Malaysia (2002) also finished 8th on home soil.
> India have failed to win their last 5 WC matches (1 draw, 4 defeats). Their only win at Delhi 2010 was the 4-1 vs Pakistan in their first match.
> Lucas Vila scored twice today, to become top goal scorer for Argentina at Delhi 2010 at 4 goals.
> Sandeep Singh became the first player to score a World Cup penalty stroke goal for India since Baljit Singh Dhillon in 2002 in India’s 4-1 won over Poland.
> Sandeep Singh’s 4 goals at Delhi 2010make him the top goal scorer for the Indian team this tournament.
> India PC success rate at Delhi 2010 is 4 for 20.
> Argentina converted 4 of 4 PCs at Delhi 2010.