(Photo: © Sandra Harik)

France and Argentina tied the first game of a two-test series, 2-2, in Paris.

Played at the France National Sports Centre (INSEP) in Paris, Argentina had the better start to the match, but was unable to convert some promising midfield possession into strong scoring opportunities.

After a tentative first 20 minutes, France wrestled the game under its control, and scored four minutes before half time through Martin Genestet following a strong attacking move down the France right side.

France scored quickly after half time to take the 2-0 lead with a direct penalty corner dragflick to Fabien Magner.

At 2-0, France had two more strong opportunities over the next 15 minutes, however a well-executed counterattack goal saw
Argentina reduce the gap to one through Mathias Parades with 14 minutes remaining.

Argentina continued the pressure and started to dominate the game, with France struggling to find its earlier flow. Lucas Cammareri drea  Argentina level at 2-2 with just three minutes to go after a defensive clearing error from France, and the game fell into and end-to-end affair in the final minutes.

“After a tentative start, it was really pleasing to see the group start to play some confident hockey that combined a solid defensive structure,” said Scott Goodheart , the French head coach. “However, in the end, I think we struggled to maintain our earlier composure when Argentina really started to apply the pressure. Perhaps also the game may have been a little different had we taken some of our opportunities earlier in the second half,” he said.

The return match of the series is April 14 at 12:00, at INSEP.

Argentina is currently ranked 11 in the world. They have been regular World Cup and Olympic Games attendees for the last 20 years, and were ranked number 6 in 2009.

France is currently ranked 17 in the world, and is chasing their first qualification to the Olympic Games since 1972.

Souce: French Hockey Media Release