Germany wrap up their Season 4 FIH Pro League tour on a high as the women scored late to tie Argentina 2-2 and then dominate the shootout 3-0 to take the bonus point. The German men showed superb precision and pace to put three past the Leones, despite playing several minutes down a player due to penalty cards. The German men leave Mendoza with eight of 12 available points, while the women nabbed five points after only securing wins through shootouts.
The night was also special for England umpire, Bruce Bale, who celebrated his FIH Golden Whistle award for this 100th international game. From the Hero Hockey Junior World Cup in 2013 hosted in India to EuroHockey Championships, World League matches, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Champions Trophies, the 2022 Commonwealth Games, FIH Pro League and soon teh 2023 FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup in Bhubaneswar, it certainly a most deserving milestone to celebrate.
India and Germany now sit atop the men’s Pro League standings with eight points each, while on the women’s side, with fewer games played, the Leonas are on top with seven points and Germany next with five. View the latest FIH Pro League standings here.
Argentina vs Germany (women & men) – Estadio Mendocino de Hockey, Mendoza (ARG)
Three goals in the final quarter made for an exciting encounter as Germany and Argentina women tied 2-2 in Mendoza. Germany signed off with the bonus-point win after a 3-0 finish in the shootout.
Two goals from Julieta Jankunas in the four-quarter breathed relief for Argentina who poured on the pressure late in the game to overcome a ninth-minute finish from Germany’s Charlotte Stapenhorst. The Leonas were rewarded for their pace and presence in the second half but it was not enough as Die Danas pounced on an errant pass from Lucina von der Heyde in the 55th minute. On the counter attack, Jette Fleschütz battled through a defensive warzone in the circle to find a sliding Pia Maertens who tied the game 2-2.
Before that, Argentina enjoyed the fire and flare that Jankunas provided, first deflecting a Delfina Thome ball across the circle, then blasting a low back-hand shot after a hard ball from Sofia Toccalino was poorly trapped by defender Linnea Weidemann. Germany keeper Nathalie Kubalski was left with stranded on both, despite a valiant defensive effort from Germany through most of the game.
Argentina had two cards in the final minutes but Germany were unable to create the chances they needed and the game went to a shootout for the bonus point.
Time expired on Selin Oruz’s attempt and Magdalena Fernandez’s own foot kept both teams off the board in the opening goes. Nike Lorenz made quick work of Cristina Cosentino for Germany’s first goal, while Catalina Andrade ran out of space for Argentina. Sara Strauss finished wonderfully with a reverse-stick flip on the spin to give Germany the two-goal advantage and a stick save from Kubalski continued that advantage. Weidemann scored to finish the shootout off 3-0 for Die Danas. Germany wrap up their Pro League tour in Mendoza without a win in regulation time, while the Leonas will finish hosting duties with a game against the Belgium Red Panthers on 9 November.
Germany’s Kira Horn, player of the game, said after the match they definitely didn’t want to get on the plane without a positive result and they were happy with the shootout win today. Germany leaves Argentina with five points from their four games played.
“We had a really good match but we weren’t very effective in the scoring area,” said Argentina’s captain Rocio Sanchez. “We had a lot of chances but we couldn’t score any goals. We also have to improve in the shootouts but now we are already thinking about (tomorrow’s game against Belgium).”
The German men put on a clinical performance, dominating Argentina 3-0, and leave Mendoza with eight points. Despite the score line, Germany had to weather several cards dealt their way including a five-minute suspension for Raphael Hartkopf. While the Leones may have edged Germany in circle penetrations, it was the textbook possession plays by Germany and their patient defence that allowed them to be clinical on fewer attacking chances.
Timur Oruz finished in the fifth minute, burying a back-hand shot after a passing play where Argentina chased between seven passes. Outside of a Federico Monja’s pass across an untended goalmouth and back-to-back saves by Alexander Stadler on a penalty corner, Argentina had few chances. Meanwhile, Niklas Wellen was an absolute handful for the Argentine defence. In the opening minute of the third quarter, Mats Grambusch fed a quick pass into the circle and almost instinctively, Wellen read it, changed direction on the reception and buried the ball inside the post to give Germany a 2-0 lead.
Germany had nine penalty corners, including one steered off the line after Tomas Santiago took the brunt of the pace off, so it was in free play that Germany made the difference. Wellen was again creating all sorts of trouble as he patiently drew Santiago, spinning left then right, and slid the ball under him and across the goalmouth. Hannes Muller got just enough on it to roll the ball past two diving Argentine defenders and just across the goalmouth. Hartkopf nearly made it four, picking off an aerial inside the Argentine circle, but after beating his defender slid the ball past Santiago and on to the post.
Argentina couldn’t match the technical display showed by Germany and the 3-0 score line stood for the visitors.
“We improved a lot in our game,” said player of the match Niklas Wellen of Germany. “We knew what was coming and the style that Argentina plays. We found a really good way to use our strength, speed and the advantages to have a strong game. The defence was good and our corner defence was really, really good and that’s definitely what we need if we want to have a good performance at the World Cup.”
“I think it was a really tough game,” said Maico Casella, wearing the captain’s band tonight. “We didn’t defend as well as we did against Germany the last time and also we had a lot of corners that we couldn’t score today. That was the difference between them and us and now we need to start thinking about Belgium and keep moving forward.”
FIH Pro League – 8 November 2022
Estadio Mendocino de Hockey, Mendoza (ARG)
Result: Women’s Match 5
Argentina 2, Germany 2 (0-3 Shootout)
Player of the Game: Kira Horn (GER)
Umpires: Federico Garcia (URU), Tyler Klenk (CAN), Bruce Bale (ENG-reserve), Rachel Williams (ENG-video)
Result: Men’s Match 10
Argentina 0, Germany 3
Player of the Match: Niklas Wellen (GER)
Umpires: Rachel Williams (ENG), Bruce Bale (ENG), Tyler Klenk (CAN-reserve), Federico Garcia (URU-video)
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