Peillat double seals England's fate

Chris Griffths can't beat Vivaldi in England's CT2014  game with Arg

Argentina got the better of England for the second time at a major tournament this year beating Bobby Crutchley’s side 2-1 in the penultimate day of competition at the 2014 Hero Champions Trophy. England opened the scoring in the 12th minute from an Ashley Jackson penalty stroke, but two faultless drag-flicks from Argentina’s specialist Gonzalo Peillat and a man of the match performance from goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi saw the South Americans through to face the Netherlands for fifth. For England, it’s a battle to avoid last place against Pool A opponents Belgium at 6am GMT.

In the first match of the day the Netherlands needed a shoot-out to see off Belgium 4-2 in the other 5th-8th classification match after a 2-2 draw in normal time.

The game marked a special occasion for Wimbledon’s Alastair Brogdon as he made his 100th appearance for England.

England 1 (1)
Ashley Jackson 12 (PS)

Argentina 2 (1)
Gonzalo Peillat 25, 48 (PC, PC)  

It was an action packed first quarter as both teams took full advantage of their counter attacking opportunities. Argentina won two penalty corners across the 15 minutes, however both were mis-trapped and it was England who edged ahead, slightly against the run of play, in the 12th minute. East Grinstead’s Chris Griffiths was judged to have been intentionally fouled in the circle after a great attacking run from the newcomer. Club teammate Ashley Jackson duly stepped up and fired home the resulting penalty stroke to give England a one goal lead.

Both sides picked up green cards as the closely fought encounter resumed for the second quarter. Crutchley’s side earned their first penalty corner of the game, but the ball was chased down well by Argentina’s defence and it was the South American side who went on to equalise from a brilliantly executed drag-flick by Gonzalo Peillat five minutes before the break.

The third quarter saw more of the same from the world number five [England] and seven [Argentina] sides as they went in search of the winning goal, but neither could find a way through their opponent’s defence, thanks largely to some excellent goalkeeping from Los Leones No1 Vivaldi.

Vivaldi continued his strong form going into the last 15 minutes as he denied Chris Griffiths early in the final quarter. Moments later George Pinner was called upon at the opposite end of the pitch to keep out Matias Paredes, but the attacking play resulted in a penalty corner. Argentina’s renowned flicker Peillat was denied brilliantly by the outstretched foot of Pinner from his first attempt, but the Argentina No2 made no mistake with his second, firing home to give his side the vital goal advantage [1-2].

After scoring twice for his country Peillat found himself on the end of a five minute suspension following a foul off the ball, but despite a handful of chances from open play and penalty corners England just couldn’t find a way past Vivaldi. The Argentina keeper saved from Dixon, Ward, Griffiths and Jackson in the closing stages to earn himself the Hero Man of the Match award and take his side through to face the Netherlands for fifth place. The defeat means that England will have to do battle with Pool A opponents Belgium again tomorrow as they fight to avoid a last place finish on the final day of the tournament. There was nothing to separate the two sides when they played out a 1-1 draw earlier in the week.

England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley

On the performance and looking ahead to the last game tomorrow:
“In games like these you have to take your chances and I’m obviously really disappointed with the result, but we are now in a position where we are dominating games and I think it’s clear how much progress we’ve made over the year and since our last encounter with Argentina in the summer. It’s now important that we rest and recover for our final game against Belgium tomorrow.”

England will be back in action at 6am [GMT] tomorrow morning against Belgium as world number five takes on world number four in the seventh versus eighth play-off; the game will be live on Sky Sports 3.

Enjoyed watching the spectacle of international hockey on the television this December? Why not see it for yourself in the flesh as EuroHockey 2015 comes to London next August. The top sides in Europe, including tomorrow's opponents, Belgium, battle it out for the title at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Tickets are selling fast, so don't miss out! All the information you need is here