World Cup qualifier Ireland 0 Argentina 4 (Mario Almada, Pedro Ibarra 2, Lucas Cammareri)
Ireland were unable to get the three-goal win required against Argentina at the World Cup qualifier in Quilmes this evening and will now be confined to the third place play-off on Sunday against the Czech Republic.
Argentina's sharpness at corner time proved a major factor with Pedro Ibarra scoring his sixth and seventh of the competition. It leaves Ireland with a chance to gain revenge over the Czechs who claimed a shock draw on Thursday.
Argentina took the early initiative, taking the lead in the 12th minute when Mario Almada got the final touch to score from a goalmouth scramble after his brilliant initial run found its way back to him on the endline. Pedro Ibarra’s lethal drag-flick made it 2-0 while a second corner was deflected home by Lucas Cammareri to put Ireland all but down and out by the break.
The Irish had a decent amount of possession but precious little end-product, characterised by the post-match statistic of shots to circle-penetrations. Just three efforts on goal were gleaned from 13 circle entries
It was a slightly better second half performance but, knowing they had to do little more than close out the match, the Argentinians were never truly threatened.
On 50 minutes into the second half, the hosts were awarded a penalty stroke when a Fernando Zylberberg run was cut short and Ibarra calmly converted with David Harte sent the wrong way. It was his ninth goal of the tournament.
Ireland earned their first corner in the last five minutes but it was dealt with to make it another tough day at the office on the day Graham Shaw was awarded his 150th cap.
Ireland: David Harte, John Jackson, Ronan Gormley (capt), Mikey Watt, Stephen Butler, John Jermyn, Eugene Magee, Timmy Cockram, Geoff McCabe, Conor Harte, Timmy Lewis Subs: Graham Shaw, Mitch Darling, Alan Sothern, David Ames, Paul Gleghorne
Final group standings: 1. Argentina 13pts (+14) 2. Belgium 10pts (+15) 3. Ireland 7pts (+1) 4. Czech Republic 7pts (-7) 5. Chile 3pts (-10) 6. USA 1pt (-13)
* Photos courtesy of World Hockey, video courtesy of TazVideoSport