New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) World No.11 Argentina caused a huge upset by defeating three-times World Champions Netherlands 5-2 while Australia got off to a 3-2 win against Belgium in Pool B matches of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final here Friday.
The first upset took place on the opening day of the event as Argentina beat one of the pre-tournament favourites at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. The South American team took the lead in only the second minute when Gonzalo Peillat slotted in from a penalty corner.
The Netherlands responded immediately and equalled the scoreline through penalty corner specialist Mink van der Weerden in the fifth minute. Three minutes later Argentina reclaimed the lead with a diving conversion by Facundo Callioni.
The remainder of the first half was quiet with both sides taking a safety-first approach.
Defensive tactics continued for the first 15 minutes of the second half but the Netherlands broke the deadlock when Seve van Ass levelled in the 50th minute with a reverse stick shot from wide left of the goal.
Six minutes later Argentina regained their advantage when first Pedro Ibarra shot home in the 56th minute and then Guido Barriedes scored a beautifully taken goal in the 60th minute.
Argentina further extended their lead when they converted a penalty stroke via Juan Ignacio Gilardi, three minutes from the hooter.
Earlier in the tournament opener, Jacob Whetton’s field goal gave Australia all three points against Belgium after maintaining a 2-all scoreline till the second last minute. While Tom Boon and Thomas Briels scored for the Belgians, Kieran Govers scored a brace for the reigning World Champions.
Pool B results: Australia beat Belgium 3-2, Argentina beat Netherlands 5-2