(Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

Australia vs. Argentina: 5-2 (half-time: 3-1)

First match of pool B pitted two highly ranked teams, Oceania Champions Australia and America Champions Argentina, and the players immediately displayed their skills in a fast paced opening ten minutes, without so much of an observation round.

Attackers were however kept well outside the circle and there were hardly any dangerous scoring opportunities until the 14th minutes, when the Australians finally managed to find the key to the Argentinian defense to score three goals in quick succession by Justin Douglas, Francis Main and captain for the day Daniel Beale, establishing a comfortable lead.

Argentina regrouped promptly but could not seriously threaten Andrew Butturini in the Kookaburra’s goal, leaving the door open for another Australian surge forward. Aussie Matthew Dawson scored a spectacular goal, picking up the rebound from a penalty-corner and sending it high in the roof of the net, but it was canceled after an Argentinian video-referral.

Argentina had a good reaction at the end of the period and Joaquin Leonel Coelho reduced the deficit in the 31st minute, finding the ball in traffic in the circle after a long run and perfect cross by Manuel Nicolas Sacchetti. Frederico Fernandez Onega had another excellent chance soon after but shot just wide after doing all the hard work going through the Australian defense.

The break was called after a long video-referral break over a penalty-corner call, with Australia comfortably in the lead with a two-goal cushion.

Jeremy Hayward increased the Australian lead early in second period with a penalty-corner just under the bar, hotly contested for some reason by the Argentineans, who had unfortunately already lost their right to a video-referral. The Kookaburras scored their fifth goal in the 49th minute, after a long run on the right wing by Daniel Beale, taken down when entering the circle but still managing a spectacular diving pass to Casey Hammond in front of the goal.

With a 4-goal deficit and less than fifteen minutes to go, things looked bleak for the South Americans. They kept trying and were rewarded with a late goal on penalty-corner by Gonzalo Peillat, but it was too little and too late and the Kookaburras walked away with the 3 points of the win in this entertaining match.

For more information and pictures of AUS vs. ARG, click here.

Spain vs. France: 3-4 (half-time: 2-3)

An action-packed game treated a healthy crowd for the second game of Pool B between France and Spain at the 2013 Hero Hockey Junior World Cup. France showed their attacking dominance early earning a penalty corner less than two minutes in but Spain were up to the challenge, deflecting it up and out of bounds.

Despite France’s midfield control it was Spain that was the first to tally, capitalizing on their first corner of the match. A faked drag flick back to the injector, Alvaro Iglesias, was finished effortlessly into the mesh to boost Spain 1-0 in the 7th minute.

A fast-paced and physical match continued with a tying opportunity handed to France in the 17th minute. Following a long corner entry into the circle France was awarded a penalty stroke but Hugo Genestet was unable to convert.

The 23rd minute marked a plethora of goals as Genestet redeemed himself with a top-corner shot past Spain’s keeper Mario Fernandez to tie the game at one. Off the push back Spain were quick to gain France’s circle and as keeper Edgar Reynauld slid out to challenge, Albert Beltrain dove to touch the ball up and in for the 2-1 Spain lead.

France’s Simon Martin Brisac dealt two unanswered goals before the break, first at the 24th minute mark on a deflection at the far post and then on a solo effort from the left base line at the 28th minute. France entered half time with the 3-2 edge.

In the second half Pieter van Straaten extended France’s lead to two by putting away a top-shelf shot in the 38th minute. With less than 8 minutes to go Spain continued their come back with a well-executed drag flick by Richardo Sanchez.  It was too little, too late though as France did well to maintain possession and take the game 4-3 to advance to the top of Pool B alongside Australia.

For more information and pictures of ESP vs. FRA, click here.