Great Britain captain Adam Dixon was left ruing his side’s missed chances after a late comeback wasn’t quite enough to salvage an entertaining match against Argentina in London.
Despite creating plenty of chances, Great Britain trailed 3-0 to strikes from Martin Ferreiro, Ignacio Ortiz and Maico Casella going into the closing stages. GB clawed goals back from Sam Ward and Alan Forsyth and forced a last second-save from Argentina goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi but ultimately ran out of time and slipped to their second defeat of the FIH Pro League.
“It was a strange game but one in which we showed some signs of development.” said Dixon.
“We dominated the game possession-wise and played at our tempo. We’ve come a long way since the first couple of Pro League games. We’re just really frustrated with the obvious stuff like not converting our corners and our chances in to goals. Lots to improve on but with a game tomorrow we have to stay positive and make sure we rebound and come back stronger tomorrow.”
Great Britain won eight penalty corners but found Argentina’s defence and goalkeeper Vivaldi stubborn foes as they were unable to convert a corner until Ward’s 56th minute strike.
Despite being in the ascendancy for long periods, Great Britain conceded the opener in the 19th minute as Ferreiro pounced on a penalty corner rebound to lift the ball into the roof of the net. A swift move in the 36th doubled Los Leones’ advantage as Ortiz latched into a pass and chopped the ball into the net past Harry Gibson. Six minutes later, Casella made it 3-0 and the home crowd could scarcely believe their eyes.
Argentina thought they’d made it 4-0 shortly afterwards but after a consultation with the video umpire their fourth was ruled out.
“It can be frustrating being 3-0 down but we’ve done a lot of work on playing what’s in front of you. That can be just the next five seconds and what you need to do. You put the score to the back of your mind and just keep to the process.” said Dixon.
“We’re really happy with our general defence. They only really had one circle entry in the first half and one penalty corner but they scored from it. So in one half of hockey against the Olympic champions that’s not bad. We’re disappointed to concede those goals in the second half because it made life difficult. We have lots to work on but nothing to be too concerned about.”
Ward scored what seemed like a consolation with four minutes left, beating Vivaldi with a low penalty corner for his 59th international goal. The home crowd started to believe in an impossible comeback when Forsyth made it 3-2 but despite a shot on goal in the dying seconds, Argentina clung on for the win.
Dixon praised the progression made by the team since Danny Kerry took over but also stressed the mammoth task facing them in tomorrow’s game with World Champions Belgium:
“Going from the Olympic champions today to the world champions tomorrow, these games don’t give us any respite. This is a big weekend for us and putting all our development up for everyone to see is important. We probably went into the World Cup undercooked a little tactically but we have a bit more experience now and this weekend is a true test. We’ve come out a fought hard against Argentina but we know tomorrow we’ll have to be on our game for the full 60 minutes against Belgium. We go out with nothing to lose; it’s a great challenge for us.”