Kookaburras defend Hockey World League title

BHUBANESWAR, India -- World champions Australia defeated Olympic champions Argentina 2-1 in a hard-fought summit clash to defend the Hockey World League crown at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.

The experience of handling pressure in big tournaments eventually came in handy for three-time world champions Australia, who scored through two penalty corner conversions by Jeremy Hayward (17th minute) and Blake Govers (58th) to add another crown to their glorious history.

Argentina's lone goal came from the stick of Agustin Bugallo in the 18th minute.

Argentina had more shots on goal (nine to Australia's six) but the Kookaburras had better ball possession and their 100 percent penalty corner conversion rate proved to be the difference in the evenly contested encounter. Argentina had four penalty corners but failed to find the net once, whereas Australia converted two out of two.

Australia took the lead minutes into second quarter through Hayward, who beat Argentina goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi with a powerful grounded flick to the right side.

Their joy was shortlived as the Los Leones equalised in the next minute with a gem of a field goal. Standing in a one-on-one situation with an Australia defender inside the D , Bugallo neatly directed in Lucas Villa s free hit from outside the circle.

Thereafter, it was a neck-and-neck battle before Govers converted Australia's second penalty in the 58th minute.

Argentina attacked in numbers in search of the equaliser in the final two minutes, and they earned two penalty corners, but the Australians defended well to maintain their slender lead. Australia goalkeeper Tyler Lovell also made important saves in the dying minutes of the game to ensure the gold medal for his side.