Monday, 8 August 2016

LIVE BLOG: Canada vs Argentina

If you think HBIC was just going to preview the teams at the Olympic Games and then move on, you're mistaken! After the great day in the pool by Penny Oleksiak and a massive upset by the men's volleyball team, it's time for the Canadian men's field hockey team to shock the competition with a big win today. It's going to be a tough game as the Canadians run into the Pan-American champions in Argentina - who defeated Canada for the gold - so these two teams are well-acquainted with one another. Canada will have to be at its defensive best if they hope to upset the seventh-ranked team in the world, but it can be done. Will it happen today?

Argentina has already shown that they're here to play in Rio with a 3-3 tie against the second-ranked Netherlands while Canada fell to Germany in their opening preliminary game by a 6-2 score. While I will obviously be cheering for Canada in this match, this will be a major test for the 15th-ranked Canadians. Argentina has the scoring ability to compete with the top teams, so Canada has to give everything they have on the defensive side of the pitch or this score could flatter the Argentinians. With that being said, let's head to the pitch and get in on the action! Make sure you refresh often!

First Quarter

  • Scott Sandison is a beauty. He played in the Beijing Olympics before retiring, but it's nice to see the Canadian media contingent bringing in quality people to speak about the game.
  • Sandison notes that Argentina came from being down two goals against the Netherlands, so the Canadians need to be ready for the Argentinians.
  • Sandison notes that defence will be the difference if Canada hopes to win. I agree with him - six goals given up against any team will spell doom for the Canadian squad in Rio.
  • Canada will be in their charcoal uniforms. Argentina will be in white with light blue stripes.
  • Officials are accomplished, so expect this game to flow nicely.
  • SO far, Canada looking very confident on the defensive side. Let's hope that trend continues for the Canadians throughout this game.
  • Sandison talks of the long-time rivalry between these two teams and how they seem to meet in the final at every Pan-American Games. These two teams are very familiar with one another.
  • Good attempt for Argentina, but Canada avoids the threat. Ball was in the scoring circle, but Canada clears.
  • First corner opportunity goes to Argentina. It's not actually from a corner, as you may see, but from the 23-metre line. This rule was changed within the last year.
  • Tupper almost springs Pereira on the breakaway, but the stick of the Argentinian defender brings that ball down. No high-sticking on that kind of play.
  • Some good pressure at the 6:30 mark from Canada, but nothing comes of that.
  • Good discussion between Sandison and Nigel Reed about the strategies used in field hockey. The ball cannot be shielded by the stick or body, and often you'll see players target the feet of an opponent to force a free hit. Good exchange between the two on how the game is played.
  • How did none of you catch the "Australia" part in the title? Clearly, I was still asleep this morning when setting this blog entry up.
  • Matias Paredes strikes from the right post! ARGENTINA LEADS 1-0.
  • One minute remains. Canada can't be disappointed with this effort, but I'm sure they would have liked to have remained even through the first quarter.
  • The final horn sounds at the end of the quarter. I'm pretty sure that's a car horn, not a sports sound.

Second Quarter

  • Canada starts with some good pressure, but nothing results from it.
  • Parades just misses on a reply the other way for the Argentinians.
  • Pearson was given a green card - a two-minute suspension from play. This is now like a power-play for the Argentinians as Canada will play shot for two-minutes.
  • A green card was given to Argentina for playing the ball after the whistle.
  • Fantastic effort by Canada to not only thwart the Argentinian attack, but to also clear the scoring area and relieve the pressure. That was big for the Canadian squad.
  • Big save by the Canadian goalkeeper David Carter with 9:20 to play in this quarter.
  • Iain Smythe is given a five-minute yellow card - a major penalty for playing the body and stick. This could be costly as the Argentinians look to press the shorthanded Canadians.
  • Argentina calls for a video referral. The officials will go upstairs with 7:04 to play!
  • The call is overturned, and there will be a penalty shot after Panesar has the ball go off his foot!
  • Penalty shot attempt is turned away by Canada!
  • Another penalty corner for Argentina with 5:31 to play. Ball was played dangerously according to the officials.
  • And another penalty shot is turned away!
  • Gordon Johnston is given a yellow card for the body contact! That's a surprising call, but that's what the officials saw. Argentina will press on the shorthanded Canadians once again.
  • WOW! Fantastic save by Carter on the deflected ball!
  • Another dangerous play call on Canada with a high-stick in the scoring area. Penalty corner upcoming for Argentina with 1:20 remaining.
  • The penalty corner is thwarted by the foot of the Canadian defender, so there will be another penalty corner.
  • This time, the shot is saved by Carter as the Argentinians now fall to oh-and-four on the penalty corners. An excellent display of desperation defence by the Canadians.
  • A video replay is being made on a potential touch on Scott Tupper's body. It appears to go off Tupper's stick, but the official wants to be certain.
  • Video replay confirms that the ball went off Tupper's stick! No harm, no foul on Canada!
  • And the horn sounds to end the second quarter. The two teams will resume after a ten-minute halftime, so grab a beverage, ask a question (if you have one), and we'll continue!

Third Quarter

  • Nigel Reed giving an explanation about the scoring circle or "the D".
  • A fairly evenly-played first five minutes of this second half. Canada has to be happy.
  • Official makes a late call when it appeared Canada may have a break. It did go off a Canadian's body. Good call.
  • Penalty corner upcoming with 8:29 to play for Argentina. The ball went off Gill's foot in the scoring area.
  • Carter made another big save, and Argentina drops to oh-for-five!
  • Canada, as Nigel Reed suggest, need to start pressing the Argentinian defence. If they're looking to make any headway in this tournament, they have to score.
  • Five minutes remain in the third quarter. Canada has yet to enter the scoring area in the offensive zone.
  • Another penalty corner for Argentina with 3:29 to play in this quarter. It goes off a foot in the scoring area once more.
  • David Carter once again makes an enormous stop!
  • Play has stopped at 3:16 with David Carter labouring in the net. The officials are now asking for a review on the collision that dropped an Argentinian player. Nothing comes of the review, though.
  • Penalty corner awarded for Argentina as Johnston has the ball goes off his foot.
  • This shot is wide, and Argentina has looked horrid with these free looks.
  • Pearson bumps the Argentinian attacker, and we'll go back to the penalty corners.
  • That was simply awful. A slow-rolling shot is wide of the net.
  • With 29.8 seconds remaining, the Argentinians appeared to have an opportunity, but the ball goes off the back side of the stick and is whistled down. Disaster averted once more for Canada.
  • The horn sounds, and we're through 45 minutes of play!

Fourth Quarter

  • Lively action to start this quarter, but there will be a penalty corner after the Canadians are whistled for the ball off a foot.
  • The Argentinians are denied once more, but there is a review.
  • The review grants another penalty corner for Argentina.
  • Finally, Gonzalo Peillat breaks the goose egg on the penalty corners, and he has doubled the Argentina lead just under a minute in. ARGENTINA LEADS 2-0.
  • First penalty corner for Canada at 13:35! Argentina had the ball go off a foot.
  • Vivaldi makes the save on the deflection! No goal for Canada.
  • Canada makes a great move! Pereira controls the ball and flicks it over the Vivaldi, but the ball is swept off the line by Rossi!
  • Penalty corner for Canada with 11:05 remaining off that flurry of activity.
  • Ball goes off a defender and rolls out the back harmlessly. Canada now oh-for-two.
  • A good rush for the Argentinian squad results in a penalty corner.
  • Peillat makes no mistake on this shot as he wired a shot to the top-left corner with 10 minutes to play. ARGENTINA LEADS 3-0.
  • Canada, down three goals, is really looking for a break here. Argentina is sitting back at this point, comfortable with their lead. 7:20 to play.
  • Canada picks up a penalty corner with the stick infraction at 5:48.
  • Tupper makes no mistake with a low shot that beats Vivaldi on the right side! Canada is on the board! ARGENTINA LEADS 3-1.
  • Some good pressure from Canada with 3:22 remaining has the Argentinians on their heels. They ask for a review, and Canada will take another penalty corner!
  • Vivaldi makes a great save and turns Canada away.
  • Argentina is sitting back with all players on the defensive side of the field. Canada is pressing, but time is their enemy!
  • Argentina gets a free ball and that will do it here. Argentina downs Canada by a 3-1 score. Argentina moves to 1-0-1 while Canada falls to 0-2-0 after this result.
  • Things don't get easier for Canada. They will play the Netherlands tomorrow at 12:30pm ET.
Thanks for joining me in getting acclimated to the field hockey event in Rio! We'll do this again in the next week, so make sure you come back for more coverage on this event!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the field!

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