Field Hockey Canada > Host Argentina outlasts Canada 2-1 at World League Semifinals

In a preview of a matchup we’ll see at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto this July, tournament host Argentina was able to outlast their cross-continental rival Canada en route to a 2-1 victory Saturday at the World League Semifinals.

Saturday’s match was not only a good test for both teams ahead of the continental tournament this summer, but it was vital for Pool B positioning at the Semifinals.

With the win, Argentina – ranked 6th in the world – ties Canada (fifteenth) in points but holds a game in hand and now controls its chances of finishing second after at the end of the round robin.

“We’re a little bit disappointed obviously,” says Canadian midfielder Iain Smythe, who played in his 100th match for Canada in Saturday match. “We were in it for a good part of the game. Our corner defense was outstanding. We were blocking a lot of shots but e gave that last one away.”

In front of their home crowd, Argentina began the match on the front foot and earned a penalty corner in the early moments, forcing David Carter to make a diving save.

Canada then was given a green card and with the man advantage, Argentina earned a string of four penalty corners in a row, which were all turned away by Canada, resulting in no score after the first quarter.

Argentina continued to pressure early in the second quarter and in the twentieth minute Facundo Callioni picked up a penalty stroke after a Canadian challenge was ruled illegal. The stroke was taken by Juan Gilardi and he beat Carter to the left side to make it 1-0.

Carter was required to make a sensational stop in the twenty-seventh minute as a hard, high shot from Agustin Mazzilli was heading into the top left corner of the goal, but the outstretched keeper got his stick on it.

The save proved to be important and a boon to Canada’s offensive, as less than two minutes later an individual effort from Sukhi Panesar combined with some sloppy Argentinian ball-handling near the goal resulted in Panesar’s first goal of the tournament in the twenty-ninth minute, tying the game at half time.

Canada was much improved in the second half, playing a strong and quick game off the counter-attack.

The Canadians had a stretch of their own where they were given multiple penalty corner opportunities, but Scott Tupper – who had yet to take a short corner this tournament – wasn’t able to power home his patented drag flick or connect with his teammates to convert on Canada’s three opportunities.

The winning goal was scored in the forty-fifth minute on an Argentinian penalty corner. A low, howling drag flick from Gonzalo Peillat beat both Carter and defender Gordon Johnston on the right side of the goal.

“Always against Canada it’s like this,” says Argentina’s captain Matias Paredes. “It’s something special but finally we won.”

With the victory, Argentina ties Canada and Germany with six points but takes over second place in Pool B based on games played and goal differential.

Canada now sits in third place and has one game remaining in the round robin, Tuesday at 10am PT/ 1pm ET against third ranked Germany.

Click here for Canada’s full World League Semifinals schedule and results.