Playing an all out attacking game, Argentina trounced Belgium 4-2 to win the gold and emerge the new Olympic Men’s hockey champion Deodoro Centre. 2012 London Games winners Germany, took the bronze medal overpowering the Netherlands in a penalty shootout victory.
Within the first three minutes of the match, Belgium’s Tanguy Cosyns got his team an early lead after tipping in a long pass to the circle. However, Argentina went on a three-goal scoring rampage to close out the first two quarters of play.
Team captain Pedro Ibarra got the equalizer on a deceptive behind-the-back penalty corner play. Before the end of the first quarter, Ignacio Ortiz converted his shot on goal. Gonzalo Peillat scored off of his signature drag flick to put Argentina up two goals heading into halftime.
Belgium seemed rattled after Argentina took the lead, but all they needed was an early goal to keep them in the game. They got that with eight seconds left in the third quarter when Gauthier Boccard slammed his shot past Juan Vivaldi to cut the lead to just one goal with plenty of time left to play.
The two played each other hard down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter. With just under three minutes left, Belgium was forced to substitute its goalkeeper for an extra man on the field. Argentina, however, sealed its fate when Agustin Mazzilli scored on an empty Belgium net with 16 seconds left, giving Belgium no chance to get back into the game.
Belgium has claimed the silver medal, which is the country’s best performance since the 1920 Olympics where it took home bronze. For Argentina, this historic performance in Rio puts men’s field hockey on the map and etches its name into Olympic history.