Bhubaneswar — Hockey has a penchant for producing madcap games and France v Argentina produced just that as Argentina scored with the last strike of the game to claim second place in their pool after a quite frankly bonkers 5-5 draw in Rourkela.
In all, it was a balmy day in the World Cup’s second city. There were five hat-tricks across the four games, with 38 goals scored, an average of 9.5 goals per game.
France had beaten Argentina in their three previous World Cup meetings – in 2018, 1990 and 1971 – and looked set for a fourth after Victor Charlet’s four goals, the last of which coming in the final minute.
But after three penalty corners in a row, Nicolas Della Torre netted his own hat-trick with a fierce dragflick to level matters and deny the French second place in the pool.
It still means crossover matches for both teams. France will play Germany, with the winner facing England. Meanwhile, should Argentina win their match against South Korea, Los Leones will meet the Netherlands.
Charlet (36, 38, 48 and 60) saw two goals from penalty strokes, while Tynevez Etienne scored in the 11th.
Della Torre netted a second-half hat-trick, while Keenan Nicolas and Martin Ferreiro scored either side of half-time in an open, occasionally niggly contest which failed to disappoint.
Earlier, Australia looked set to come close to their own World Cup record of 11-0 before stepping off the gas in beating South Africa 9-2.
Blake Govers scored four, including from a penalty stroke, and will face Malaysia or Spain in the quarter-finals.
Govers said: “It was a good start to the game. When you get an easy touch like that for the first goal it kind of flowed on from there. I probably should have got a few more but will have to settle on four.”
Tom Boon scored five times in 23 minutes as Belgium raced through the gears against Japan. They will face India or New Zealand in the last eight.
Boon was in a numbers mood afterwards, saying: “I think after scoring no goals in the first quarter, it’s good to get seven and a +6 goal difference in the final three quarters.
Germany then knew they had to beat South Korea by nine to top the group and advance directly to the last eight. And they went close, too. With Korea locking the Germans at 1-1 at the end of the first quarter.
However, Niklas Wellen scored a hat-trick and they soon proved to good for Korea. He said: “We knew how many goals we needed to finish top of the group, and we fell short by a couple of goals, but two wins and a draw from the three pool stage matches is a very good result for us on the whole.”