captain, Kwandwane Browne, left focuses on the ball while
being chased by USAs Jed Cunningham during their
Pool Day Five match at the FIH World Hockey Olympic Qualifier
in North Shore City, Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.
USA won 4-2 and met T&T again in the play-off for
fifth spot and T&T won 2-1.
finally had the better of the USA in a sporting discipline,
when they defeated them 2-1 for a fifth-place finish in
the World Hockey Olympic qualifiers in Auckland.
T&T opened the scoring midway through the first half,
as Wayne Legerton took advantage of a penalty stroke awarded
after a penalty corner had hit the body of a US defender.
In a deja-vu experience, repeating yesterdays matchs
events, the USA then turned around the match with goals
from Pat Harris, converting a penalty corner with a dragflick,
and Jarred Martin, taking advantage of the next corner flicks
After the break however, T&T this time managed to pull
even again, when Atiba Whittington pushed the ball over
the line at the end of a penalty corner variation for his
first goal of the tournamentthe 100th of the event.
With the score now level again, the game grew increasingly
physical, and tempers flared. Kwan Browne was yellow carded,
and Wayne Legerton soon after, so that for almost three
minutes, the USA had a two player advantage.
They could not capitalize on it however, instead seeing
one of their own sent off with six minutes to go, and taking
the winning goal for T&T while one man down. With Jed
Cunningham off the field, it was Dwain Quan Chan who deflected
a ball past the US goalkeeper, to give his team the first
win of the tournament and 5th place in the final standings.
The individual awards of the tournament went to France (Fair
Play Trophy), Juan Manuel Vivaldi of Argentina (Best Goalkeeper
of the Tournament), Mark Gleghorne of Ireland (Topscorer),
and Blair Hopping of New Zealand (Best Player of the Tournament).
In the final in Auckland, New Zealand grabbed the coveted
first place and ticket to Beijing, wringing it from the
hands of the Argentines who were inconsolable after having
come so close and missed out for the second time after the
Panamerican Games five months ago.
Previously, France had pulled a surprise win over Ireland,
and T&T had booked their first victory of the tournament
to take 5th place.
In the ultimately dramatic final, Argentina were the stronger
team in the initial phase, and went one goal ahead when
Lucas Vila deflected a penalty corner hit from brother Matias
up into the roof of the goal. Unable to capitalize on their
early advantage any more, Argentina had to watch New Zealand
increasingly gain momentum.
They took the equalizer from Dave Kosoof in the 49th minute,
but managed to pull one back three minutes later when Mati
Vila sunk a penalty corner. With the pace of the game getting
frantic, Argentina could no longer produce the supreme performance
of the beginning of the match, and had to watch the game
slip away. After a string of chances for New Zealand, Hayden
Shaw gave his team the relieving equalizer with 4 minutes
to go to keep alive their hopes of the Olympic tournament
and take them to extra time.
In extra time, play went back and forth without either team
being able to create much danger, but it was eventually
New Zealand who got the lucky break, taking full advantage
of a penalty corner with only second on the clock. The Black
Sticks elation and their fans celebrations came
of course in stark contrast to the tears of the Argentines
who for quite a while could not grasp the fact that they
had let their ticket to Beijing slip from their hands a
Previous to the final, in the match for 3rd and 4th place,
France had surprisingly beat the Irish who were doubly disappointed
after ending up in fourth place after having only missed
out on the final on goal difference.