The Lions began their journey in the hockey World Cup with a victory against South Africa

Argentina beat South Africa in their debut at the Hockey World Cup (@FIH_Hockey)
Argentina beat South Africa in their debut at the Hockey World Cup (@FIH_Hockey)

The ball started rolling at the Bhubaneswar/Rourkela Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023. At the Kalinga Stadium, The Argentine team, popularly known as Los Leones, began their journey with a 1-0 victory over South Africa thanks to a goal from Maico Casella.

The goalkeeper Tomás Santiago was one of the main figures of the victory of those led by Mariano Ronconi, who has been in charge of the generational change since October 2021. Only three of the Olympic champions in Rio 2016 appear on the Albiceleste squad: Matías Rey, Agustín Mazzilli and Lucas Vila. In addition, among the 18-member squad there will be eleven World Cup debutants.

Argentina, whose best performance in a World Cup was the third place achieved in The Hague 2014, seeks to improve the one made in the last edition, carried out in 2018 in India. On that occasion, the national team finished in seventh place after losing to England in the quarterfinals.

The Rio 2016 Olympic champions and fourteen-time continental champions will be back in action next Monday at 10:30 in the morning against Australia, bronze medalist in the last World Cup, in Tokyo 2020 and one of the main contenders for the title. The other member of Group A is France, quarterfinalist in 2018. They will play against the Gauls on Friday 20, at 6.30, at the Rourkela stadium.

“We are inspired by Leo Messi and by our soccer team that has won the World Cup in Qatar. They did a magnificent job and we will try to repeat it in this hockey World Cup. It will be difficult but we are motivated and we want to win, make our country proud”, commented the veteran Albiceleste captain, Matías Rey, prior to this commitment.

The other great candidate to keep the crown is Belgium, being the last champion and also winner of Olympic gold in Tokyo 2020. The “Red Lions” will be part of group B together with Germany, winner in 2006 and 2002, Japan and South Korea. South.

It is worth remembering that the first two of each group will access the quarterfinals and the third will face each other to enter this phase. The semifinals will be played on Friday, January 27 at the Kalinga Stadium, which will also host the final and the match for bronze on the 29th.

The Lions squad*:

Tomás Santiago, Emiliano Bosso, Facundo Zárate, Nicolás Della Torre, Nicolás Cicileo, Federico Monja, Juan Ignacio Catán, Santiago Tarazona, Matías Rey, Thomas Habif, Agustín Bugallo, Agustín Mazzilli, Nicolás Keenan, Maico Casella, Martín Ferreiro, Lucas Vila, Tomas Domene and Lucas Toscani.

*Agustín Machellet and Bautista Capurro traveled as substitutes

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