Argentina won the women’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 as they defeated Netherlands 4-2 in an exhilarating, high quality final in front of a capacity crowd in Santiago, Chile.
Gold medal match: Netherlands 2, Argentina 4
A first gold medal in 23 years was just reward for the Argentina women’s junior hockey team as they dazzled spectators, TV viewers and even their opponents to win gold on their home continent.
The match began in a scrappy fashion and the first real scoring chance didn’t come until 15 minutes into the game when Netherlands midfielder Maxime Kerstholt batted the ball mid-air at Maria Rossetti in the Argentina goal. Rossetti dealt with it and just seconds later her Dutch counterpart was in action foiling a swift Argentine counter-attack.
The game settled into a fittingly stylish showcase for the sport. The Netherlands played with grace and fluidity; Argentina were busy and imaginative. Both sides were uncompromising when it came to tackling.
The deadlock was broken when Imme van der Hoek shot past the Argentine goalkeeper to give Netherlands the lead but the goal did little to dent the cut and thrust of both teams as they continued to charge up and down the pitch.
Argentina equalised when Bianca Donati swept a penalty corner into the corner of the Dutch goal in the 27th minute. Shortly after there was no stopping Barbara Borgia as Argentina won a penalty corner on the stroke of half-time. The first shot was saved but Borgia was on hand to slam home and give her side a morale-boosting lead to take into the break.
This lead was further extended after half-time when Maria Ortiz pounced on an opportunity to score again and move her team one step closer to gold.
However, as all hockey fans know, giving up is not in the Dutch mindset and on the 50th minute Netherlands perseverance paid off as Pien Sanders was able to lift a rebounded penalty corner over the body of Rossetti to reduce the Argentine lead to just one goal.
With 20 minutes to go, the level of crowd noise increased as everyone in the stadium prepared for a hockey showdown.
Netherlands Kerstholt came agonisingly close to scoring the equaliser from a penalty corner but her ferocious shot just flew wide of the post.
The Dutch continued to attack the Argentina circle but with players such as Agostina Alonso, Sofia Toccalino and Eugenia Trinchineti throwing themselves in front of the ball, this was a gold medal that Argentina were not going to handover easily.
An Argentina break from their own defence led to a foul and subsequent penalty stroke. Agostina Gorzelany made no mistake as she made it 4-2 and the large numbers of Argentina supporters in the stands started the party before the final whistle blew.
Speaking afterwards, Argentina’s Lucia Sanguinetti said: “I think we deserved it as we played really well from the beginning of the event to the end. We are a great team, we played a great final. We knew it was going to be hard – Netherlands are a great, great team. We are so happy and excited to bring the gold to Argentina as it has been some time (since we last won it).”
Courtesy of @fih_hockey 📸 @PlanetHockeyMag