Field Hockey Canada > Canada drops 3-0 decision to host Argentina in tournament semifinal

With Olympic qualification on the line, a highly emotional semifinal match ended with host Argentina beating the Canadian Men’s Field Hockey Team 3-0 at the World League Semifinals Saturday in Buenos Aires.

The win sends Argentina to the tournament final and – with a guaranteed top-two finish – gives them a guaranteed spot at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Canada still has an opportunity to qualify for Rio by winning Sunday’s third place match, which will be played against the winner of the Germany-Netherlands semifinal.

Meeting for the second time in the tournament, this time with a spot at the Olympics as the prize, the two Pan American rivals began the match at a rabid pace.

The first chance of the game went to the home side in the second minute when Argentina’s captain Matias Parades drilled a hard ball across the face of the goal and nearly found Facundo Callioni at the other end.

A minute later, Argentina was given a yellow card for a shove to the back of Canada’s Mark Pearson.

Less than a minute later, Argentina was given a second yellow card – this one a ten-minute infraction – and Canada went up two men early.

The Canadians nearly capitalized immediately when Matthew Guest spotted a wide-open Iain Smythe in front of the Argentinian goal.

Smythe was falling to his knees but managed a quick stickhandle to direct the ball to goal, but goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi got in front of it.

With almost five minutes of a two-man advantage, Canada wasn’t able to convert but had another glorious opportunity to get on the board in the thirteenth minute when Sukhi Panesar found Matthew Sarmento behind Argentina’s defense.

Sarmento tried a pass to Mark Pearson at the back post, but it was blocked. Canada, however, earned a penalty corner for their efforts.

The penalty corner was a turning point in the match as the Canadians couldn’t execute and on the counter-attack Argentina went back to earn a short corner of their own.

On the ensuing attempt, Gonzalo Peillat fired a hard flick to the right of goalkeeper David Carter, beating him and defender Gordon Johnston giving Argentina the 1-0 lead.

Argentina added a second goal in the second quarter after earning a penalty stroke due a stick challenge in the circle. Juan Gilardi beat Carter to his right for the 2-0 lead in the twenty-third minute.

Down two in the second half, Canada faced an uphill battle but had a chance to get right back in it in the fortieth minute on a penalty corner.

Scott Tupper’s drag flick was heading to the back of the net but and defender Matias Rey was able to get a stick on it and pop it up. Devohn Noronha-Teixeira knocked the rebound of the air, but his attempt couldn’t find the goal either.

It was yet another turning point as two minutes later, in the forty-second minute, Ignacio Ortiz netted Argentina’s third and final goal, sealing the victory.

Canada will play in the third place match on Sunday at 11:30am PT/2:30pm PT. The winner gets a spot at the Olympics in 2016 while the loser has to wait for one a number of scenarios to play out in order to qualify.