On the final day of the BDO Champions Challenge in Boom, Argentina pronounced themselves champions with an exciting win over the Blacksticks in overtime, man of the match Jorge Lombi scoring all three of Argentina's goals. Earlier in the day, Japan had defeated Belgium to claim fifth place, and India had claimed bronze with a win against England.
In the day's first match, hosts Belgium had to take on Japan, and were soon at an advantage when Jerome Dekeyser sunk two penalty corners to give his team a seemingly comfortable lead. In a day big on comebacks, Japan recovered well however, scoring twice before half time to head into the break at a tie.
Belgium worked hard to regain their lead, but found it hard to create danger and ended up conceding a string of short corners, the last of which hit Belgian captain Thomas van den Balck's chest on the line to give them a penalty stroke, an opportunity that Kazuo Yoshida did not allow to go to waste. Belgium managed to pull level once again, when Amaury de Cock took advantage of sloppy defending in the Japanese circle, Yoshihiro Anai crushed their hopes two minutes from the end, scoring Japan's winning goal.
After that, it was the bronze medal match, India somewhat surprisingly facing England who had recovered well from a catastrophic start into the tournament to reach the match for third place. India came out blazing, catching England entirely on the wrong foot. Within little more than 20 minutes, Joaquim Carvalho's boys were 4 goals ahead, and it didn't look like England had anything to offer today.
England did recover however, getting to within a goal with goals from Rob Moore, James Tindall and Simon Mantell, but eventually they ran out of time and had to accept defeat. India clung to their lead and took the bronze in this tournament in which they have certainly shown an upward trend and more organized hockey than India have produced in a long time.
Finally, the final of the tournament had New Zealand take on Argentina just like they had yesterday, when the two teams drew. In the first half, both teams had their opportunities but could not make anything off them, and no goals were scored, though not for a lack of trying. After the break, Argentina soon found themselves one man down after repeatedly breaking the line early on a string of short corners, then had to swallow two goals from Hayden Shaw, first sinking one of his trademark cracker flicks, then surprising the Argentineans with a tempered ball to the bottom left corner.
Argentina subsequently had a number of penalty corners, but Jorge Lombi failed to deliver time and again. He did come through when it mattered however, and finally sank his first four minutes from the end, slotting a ball in between the goalkeeper and the left post. He added another within a minute, producing when it was needed most, and getting his team into the sought after overtime.
Within five minutes of overtime, Jorge Lombi went on to pronounce himself the undisputed man of the match, sinking another penalty corner as the golden goal that gave Argentina the tournament win and the coveted berth in next year's Champions Trophy tournament, to be held in Rotterdam during the last week of June 2008.
The individual awards of the tournament went to team New Zealand (Fair Play), Cedric Degreve of Belgium (Best Goalkeeper) and New Zealanders Hayden Shaw (Topscorer) and Ryan Archibald (Best Player).
For all details on the BDO Champions Challenge in Boom, visit the WorldHockey tournament site.
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