India came so near to securing 5th place in the Hero Hockey World League Final, but two late goals from Belgium meant the home team finished 6th – a result that coach Terry Walsh said he was very happy with. Meanwhile in the battle to avoid the basement place, Germany came through a tough test against the up-and-coming Argentine team, but a staunch German defence weathered all that Argentina could throw at them and emerged 2-1 winners.
5/6: Belgium v India 2-1 (0-0)
Chandanda Thimmaiah (59') celebrated his 24th birthday by scoring the opening goal in the 5/6 play off match against Belgium in the Hero Hockey World League Final. However, two goals for Belgium in the last three minutes meant that Belgium finished in 5th place and India 6th. The game was played at a dazzling tempo, with the India team pressing high up the pitch to pressure the Belgium defence, and the Belgium forwards finding space to shoot, but failing to beat Hero Man of the Match Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran in the India goal.
The tables were turned when a period of pressure from India led to Thimmaiah (59') scoring a goal that was snatched from a goal-mouth scramble. Belgium equalised through Florent van Aubel (67') and then Tom Boon (68') broke Indian hearts when he slotted home the winning goal from a penalty corner. After the match India coach, Terry Walsh, said: "Belgium dominated the first 35 minutes, but we had much of the first period of the second half. Belgium started smashing the ball into our circle and they got lucky. We have come such a long way in a very short period of time," he added.
Parattu Raveendran said that he was delighted to win the Hero Man of the Match award, but he wished that he had been on the winning side. "This tournament has been excellent. It has given us the chance to gain experience against the best teams in the world. And that is important because this is such a big year for us with the Commonwealth Games and the world cup."
For more information on BEL v IND click here.
7/8 Germany v Argentina 2-1 (1-1)
Facundo Callioni (16’), playing his 100th cap for Argentina, opened the scoring in the 7/8 play off, when his skilful backhand stroke defeated Tim Jessulat in the German goal. However, the Olympic champions provided a quick response when Benjamin Wess struck back from open play. The winning goal was scored by Germany’s Tobias Matania (60’). “It was a strange game from my point of view. The umpires kept it really tight. We played a good first half but could not convert our chances. We have a lot of things to work on”, said Germany coach Markus Weise.
Hero Man of the Match, Agustin Mazzilli, said: "We won our opening games against good competition and today we played really well against Germany. We are pleased with our performance in this tournament. Obviously, it would have been nice to win, but this award is a nice consolation."
For more information on GER v ARG click here.
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