World Cup Hockey 2018: Huge Upset in Pool A as France Proves History Bigger than World Ranking, Spain Eliminated

Hockey World Cup 2018 Pool A report

Before Round 3 matches of Pool A, the competition was between other three teams as 2nd ranked Argentina was considered almost untouchable. But, with Spain holding New Zealand in first game of the day France sensed unique opportunity. Its opponent was World No. 2 Argentina whom they had not defeated for 28 years. But, history showed that in their last two appearances in 1971 and 1990, France had defeated them. With elimination round the corner, France had just option. Inspired French team made mockery of World ranking and repeated history to gift Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018 the first major upset.

2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup: Fixture and Results
Men’s Hockey World Cup: 5 Winners, 7 Runners up, 12 Semifinalists from 5 Continents in 13 Editions
World Cup Hockey: Winners and Semifinalists of Past
History of Hockey World Cup
2018 Hockey World Cup Points Table

Pool A Statistics

    Matches: 6
    Results: 4
    Draws: 2
    Goals: 27 (Arg 10, France 7, Spain 6, New Zealand 6)
    All teams lost a match each

Key Highlights of Day

    1. 12 goals in the day were the most in a single day of this World Cup.
    2. France awaits Pool B third position team for crossover. The winner will play Australia in Quarterfinals.
    3. New Zealand awaits Pool B 2nd position team for crossover. The winner will play Argentina in Quarterfinals.
    4. Spain is eliminated. Apart from being Runners up in 1971 and 1998, Spain finished 3rd in 2006, 5th in 2010 and 8th in 2014.
    4. Goals tally of tournament: 68 goals in 17 matches
    5. Player of the match: Hugo Genestet (France)
    6. Player of the Match: Josep Romeu (Spain)

After end of all 6 matches of Pool A, all teams faced one defeat each. Argentina sealed top spot despite the loss, France finished 2nd, New Zealand finished 3rd and Spain got eliminated.

First Game: Spain vs New Zealand 2-2
Like France, Spain knew a win could save them from elimination and then New Zealand or France will pack bag. Spaniards took 2-0 lead in first half. Third quarter saw no goal, but 10 minutes before end of game Blacksticks managed to sneak in two goals ensuring their place in Crossover and leaving Spain to pray for defeat of almost assured defeat of 16th seed France against 2nd seed Argentina. 8th seed New Zealand stopped short of losing surviving sharp attacks of Spaniards, who have finished among top 9 in 11 out of 13 appearances before.

Second Game: After 28 Years, First win for France vs Argentina
What a timing to end a 28-year old low!! Being ranked 2nd lowest didn’t matter while playing the 2nd highest ranked team in the do or die match. France created the biggest upset of tournament as it faced favorite World Cup bunny Argentina, whom it has now defeated three times in three matches played in its three world cup appearances. Despite valiant efforts, Spain failed to defeat New Zealand and became first team to be eliminated from Hockey World Cup 2018.

Making third appearance in Men’s Hockey World Cup after 28 years, France has finished 7th in 1971 and 1990. Argentina has quarter final spot assured before the match.

France has defeated Argentina in all three matches. In 1971 and 1990, France won by a solitary goal. Now, they have won 5-3. In all three world cups, they they played the group matches and unlike other two world cups, despite defeat this time Argentina moved to next round.

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