(Photo: © FIH / Hernan Barrios (www.hernanbarrios.com.ar))

On day 4 at the BDO Hockey World Cup Qualifier in Quilmes, Chile won its first points with a win over the USA, the Czech Republic forced Ireland to a draw, and Argentina and Belgium split points in a draw that sees the Belgians through to the final ahead of the last round of pool matches.


USA - Chile 1:2 (0:1)

In the opening encounter of the day, the USA and Chile, both previously without points, took the field. After an even start, Chile built momentum and slowly gained control of the match, making the advantage in the field count with a field goal from Martin Rodriguez in the 24th minute.

The US struggled after the goal, set slightly off balance by the sudden prospect of again fighting an uphill battle, but soon focussed again on their goal of taking points from the clash. The teams held each other in a stalemate for the remainder of the first half and a good part of the second, until Chile managed to win a penalty corner which Thomas Kannegiesser used wisely to extend the lead to two goals.
 
Despite valiant efforts from the US boys in the late phase of the game, they could not do more than score a lone goal through Arjan Reyatt however, unable to avoid their fourth defeat in a row.


Czech Republic - Ireland 2:2 (0:2)

In the subsequent game, the Czech Republic took on Ireland. After a good start by the Czech, the Irish soon dominated the proceedings, putting away two goals before the break while not making use of a string of further chances.

A penalty stroke after 12 minute was converted by John Jermyn, who also put away a penalty corner ten minutes later for the Irish 2:0 halftime lead. Amongst the wasted opportunities was even a second penalty stroke near the end of the first half, which the once more superb man in the Czech goal, Filip Neusser, warded off with a great save, deflecting a powerful shot past the right post.

The second half started as an extension of the first, but soon saw the balance shifting with the Czech increasingly better able to free themselves of the Irish pressure, and they were rewarded with their first goal halfway through the second half when Martin Babicky scored a 54th minute field goal.

Desperate to hold on to three points to put them in a good position in the race for the final, Ireland went on to create a series of further opportunities in the later part of the second half, but failed time and again, and minutes from the end, they paid the price for their inefficiency when the Czech entered the Irish circle and Martin Babicky slapped the ball over the goalkeeper, achieving the elusive draw for the Czech team, and putting Ireland in the position of having to defeat Argentina by a minimum of 3 goals in their last pool match in order to push into the final.


Argentina - Belgium 2:2 (0:0)

The day concluded with the clash between Argentina and Belgium, the two top contenders for Sunday's winner-takes-all final.

The two teams gave each other an open battle in the first half, a highly dynamic game with opportunites at both ends, including a number of penalty corners. Withe a few narrow misses and a few excellent saves at both ends however, the scoreline remained unchanged. Belgium built up some momentum towards the end of the first half, gaining a slight advantage but they could not make it count, and the two teams went into halftime without any goals scored.

When the second half started, the fight between the two teams for superiority intensified, with both sides eager to assure passage to final ahead of the last round of pool matches with a victory. Belgium picked up two yellow cards in quick succession, but the home team could not make anything of the two man advantage, only scoring their first goal just after Belgium was back at full strength, with dragflick specialist Pedro Ibarra powering a penalty corner into the net.

Belgium fought hard to manage the equalizer but instead had to take another goal from Argentina, when Tomas Argento used a moment of confusion in the Belgian defense to increase the hosts' lead to two goals. Far from defeated however, the Red Devils fought their way back into the match in the last 15 minutes of the match. Jerome Dekeyser opened the scoring for the Belgians, putting away a penalty corner in the 57th minute, and seven minutes later, Belgian captain Max Luycx levelled the scores with another penalty corner conversion.

The Europeans dominated the late phase of the match, and had opportunities to win, but eventually, the draw that Argentina managed to hold on to was enough for them to book their place in Sunday's final irrespective of Saturday's result against the USA, wile Argentina will have to battle it out for the other ticket directly in their clash with Ireland.


With today's results, Belgium tops the table on ten points, ahead of Argentina on goal difference. Ireland follows behind on seven points, followed by the Czech Republic on four, Chile on three, and the USA so far without. In the top scorer list, Pedro Ibarra of Argentina holds on to the solitary lead with a total tally of seven goals, with Jerome Dekeyser and Jerome Truyens from Belgium following behind, both with  four goals to their name.

After a last rest day on Friday, pool play in Quilmes concludes on Saturday with the matches between the Czech Republic and Chile, followed by the encounter between Belgium and the USA. The day concludes with the decider between Argentina and Ireland, establishing the team to join Belgium in Sunday's tournament final.

For all information on this competition, please visit our tournament site www.quilmes2009.sportcentric.com.


USA - Chile 1:2 (0:1)
24min CHI Martin RODRIGUEZ (FG)
55min CHI Thomas KANNEGIESSER (PC)
69min USA Arjan REYATT (FG)

Czech Republic - Ireland 2:2 (0:2)
12min IRL John JERMYN (PS)
22min IRL John JERMYN (PC)
54min CZE Martin BABICKY (FG)
66min CZE Martin BABICKY (FG)

Argentina - Belgium 2:2 (0:0)
48min ARG Pedro IBARRA (PC)
55min ARG Tomas ARGENTO (FG)
57min BEL Jerome DEKEYSER (PC)
64min BEL Max LUYCX (PC)