Manpreet Singh-led India went down fighting to World No.1 Argentina in the semi-final of the Hockey World League Final tournament at Bhubaneswar on Friday. Hosts India produced a spirited performance in the first quarter of the game as they came close to opening the scoring. However, as the game progressed, Argentina took command of the match and did not give away easy chances to the hosts. Defence played a huge role in Argentina's win as they were impeccable from the word go. India tried hard but could not penetrate the Argentine defence. India threw everything they had at Argentina in the final quarter but failed to find the equaliser. Argentina's Peillat Gonzalo scored the lone goal of the match with a 17th minute penalty corner strike.
Highlights of the match Between India vs Argentina, HWL Final 2017 at Bhubaneswar, Odisha
21:10 IST: Thank you for joining us for the live blog.
20:55 IST: The hooter goes! India go down fighting 0-1 to World No 1 Argentina in the semi-finals of the HWL Final tournament. Argentina reach their first ever final in this tournament!
FT! A tight contest goes the visitors' way as India lose to @ArgFieldHockey in the Semi Final of the Odisha Men's #HWL2017 Final in Bhubaneswar on 8th December.#JunoonJeetKa #INDvARG pic.twitter.com/7nYlx0a6FO— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) December 8, 2017
20:53 IST: What a miss! This time Paredes Matias fails to net an empty goal.
20:50 IST: Five minutes are left in the game! Can India get an equaliser? Or will Argentina enter their final of the tournament.
20:48 IST: India have upped their game and are looking aggressive.
20:44 IST: What a miss! Akashdeep goes down the left-flank and provides with a lovely ball inside the box but an Argentinian player clears the ball at the right moment. So close!
20:41 IST: India have lost their referral.
20:37 IST: Argentina maintain their slim 1-0 lead over India at end of the third quarter.
20:33 IST: Three minutes left in the third quarter and India still looking for chances to score. Argentina has been impeccable throughout the game.
20:27 IST: No, they can't equalise! India waste back-to-back penalty corner opportunities. Poor play from the hosts.
20:25 IST: India receive a penalty corner! Can they capitalise?
20:20 IST: Welcome back to the second half of the game. India will aim to up their ante and score goals against the World No 1.
20:10 IST: In the second quarter of the game, Indian attack could not go past the rock-solid Argentinian defence and failed to create goal-scoring chances. However, Argentina kept possession of the ball for most of the time and came close to extend their lead.
20:09 IST: India trail Argentina 0-1 at half-time.
HT! India go into the break looking to mount a fightback in the second half of the Semi Final at the Odisha Men's #HWL2017 Final in Bhubaneswar against Argentina on 8th December.#JunoonJeetKa #INDvARG pic.twitter.com/BSo1Nl8WK7— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) December 8, 2017
20:07 IST: India, at the moment, are not being able to break the Argentinian defence.
20:02 IST: Few minutes left in the second quarter and India don't seem to be posing any threat to their opposition.
20:00 IST: Manpreet Singh receives a yellow card for a tackle, dismissed for ten minutes. India down to 10 men now.
19:59 IST: Argentina looks compact and in control of the game in the second quarter.
19:54 IST: GOAL! Argentina take the lead in the game with a 17th minute penalty corner goal.
19:50 IST: Second quarter begins! Will India be the one to score first?
19:47 IST: India 0-0 Argentina at the end of a thrilling first quarter.
19:43 IST: Brilliant play from SV Sunil as he enters the Argentinian box, flicks the ball inside but could not penetrate the defence.
19:37 IST: Argentina has lost their referral in first few minutes of the game.
19:35 IST: Save! Argentina makes a dangerous penetration inside the circle as Lucas Villa flicks the ball inside as Indian goalie Akash Chikte dives and clears the dangerous ball.
19:32 IST: India look super energetic as they have already penetrated the inner circle thrice.
19:30 IST: Hello and welcome to the live blog of the semi-final match between India and Argentina straight from Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
If their pool campaign was lucklustre, the Indians displayed much-improved show in all departments of the game last night. But it is not as if India didn't create chances in the pool matches, but they lacked in finishing. India's chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said his wards will have to dish out a similar performance as against Belgium if not better, if they hope to tame Argentina.