Frustrated England lose to Argentina at Junior World Cup

Rhys Smith takes on the Argentina defence

Argentina 3 (0)
Nicolas Acosta 40 (FG)
Ignacio Nepote 55 (FG)
Maico Casella 61 (FG)

England 0 (0)

England’s U21s endured what Head Coach Jon Bleby described as a “frustrating” encounter with Argentina at the Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India. Playing to determined whether they battle for 5th-6th place or 7th-8th place, England were taken down by three second-half goals from their opponents in a feisty clash.

“It was a very frustrating game and despite enjoying good spells of possession we didn’t execute our skills well enough to break down a very packed Argentinean defence.” said Bleby.

His team were level at the break as neither side had found a way through to break the deadlock and it remained goalless. Argentina seemed content to defend deep and hit on the counter attack, with the massed ranks of defenders making it extremely difficult for England to fashion any clear chances.

The second half followed a similar pattern but five minutes after the break Nicolas Acosta put Argentina ahead from open play. England rallied and despite a yellow card apiece for Joaquin Puglisi and Will Calnan, they exerted some good pressure. However 15 minutes from the end Ignacio Nepote gave Argentina the second of the game. Six minutes later with England throwing men forwards in an attempt to salvage something Maico Casella was able to round off the scoring and seal the win for his team.  

Despite the disappointment of defeat, Coach Bleby told England Hockey afterwards:

“We will bounce back and aim to finish the tournament with a strong performance and a win against Holland in the 7th & 8th place play off.”

England play against the Netherlands tomorrow morning at 545am UK time.

For all the tournament updates, visit the FIH website.