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Hockey: Argentina beat Belgium, top Pool B

New Delhi, Jan 11 : Full of confidence after beating World No.3 the Netherlands, Argentina gave another spirited performance to defeat Belgium 3-2 and top Pool B of the Hockey World League Final at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Saturday.


Later Saturday, the Netherlands upset reigning World Champions Australia 1-0 in the other Pool B match. Billy Bakker scored the lone goal in the 38th minute.

The South Americans started off well with Facundo Callioni winning the first penalty corner of the match but failed to capitalise on it. But Tom Boon put the Europeans ahead in the sixth minute, smashing the ball into the far corner of the goal.

The Pan American champions found the equaliser when Pedro Ibarra'S 22nd minute run to the goal defeated goalie Vincent Vanash with a skilful backhand stroke.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, striker Boon made another mark putting Belgium 2-1 ahead.

Argentina levelled 15 minutes in to the second half when completely unmarked Matias Paredes latched onto the ball at the far post to deflect a long pass coming from Juan Martin Lopez into the goal.

Argentina held on to their attacking style and took the lead for the first time in the match when Callioni picked up a flick and managed to lift the ball over Belgian keeper Vincent Vanash nine minutes from the hooter.

"It is a happy moment for us to have defeated both the Netherlands and Belgium. We hope to continue this winning streak in our next matches. The boys knew that this was an important match but they did not come under any pressure and kept their cool," Argentina coach Carlos Retegui said.

Pool B results: Argentina beat Belgium 3-2, Netherlands beat Australia 1-0.

--IANS (Posted on 11-01-2014)

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