Bengaluru, July 29: A resilient performance by India saw them register a thrilling 3-1 win against the defending Olympic Champions Argentina in their fourth Pool A encounter at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Thursday.
This was India's third win in the Pool stage which has put them at the No.2 spot in the pool A table with one more match remaining to be played against hosts Japan on Friday. India's goals came from dragflicker Varun Kumar (43') called up in place of Birendra Lakra, Vivek Sagar Prasad (58') and Harmanpreet Singh (59'). Maico Casella (48') was the lone goal scorer for Argentina.
The win ensured the Indian men's hockey team of a quarterfinal berth. Speaking after their stunning win over the defending champions, skipper Manpreet Singh said the job was not done yet and they have to carry the momentum into their next match. "Tournament is not over. We have a match against Japan tomorrow and there is so much left.
"We will not be thinking about how we defeated defending Olympic champions tomorrow. We all played well and dominated the first three quarters but still, we missed our chances. Our defence did good and we will carry this further in the tournament and will focus on tomorrow's match," the Indian captain said after the match.
India's win saw them seal a quarterfinal berth in the Tokyo Olympics. "We created a lot of opportunities and we will work on our last pass. In the quarter-finals and match against Japan will be difficult because they will be a good team and they will not give us easy chances."
Meanwhile, India's chief coach Graham Reid lauded India's performance and said they need to play against Japan like it was their quarterfinal game. "Good performance today. This is what Argentina can do, they sit back in the game, and then all of a sudden they score a corner. You know these things can happen when you play a team like Argentina. We again put our opportunities away, we created enough. But what was good is that we didn't let that frustrates us, we stayed patient and stuck with the game plan.
"I'm very happy, it can be a bit stressful too for me but we just now need to play well against our next opponent - Japan. We need to play it as though it is the Quarter Finals and we will be keeping an eye on what happens in the other pool at the same time," signed off Reid.
India will next play hosts Japan on Friday (July 30) at 1500 hrs IST.