HWL Final: India thrashed 0-3 by Argentina in opener

Raipur: A brace from drag-flick specialist Gonzalo Peillat helped Argentina thrash India 3-0 in the Hockey World League (HWL) Final opener at the 3,500-seater Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Stadium here on Friday.

In the first Pool B match, young defender Peillat scored a brace in the third and 60th minute while Joaquin Menini scored in the 24th minute to hand the visitors a comfortable victory.

On the other hand, the hosts looked completely hapless against the World No.5 ranked team, giving away several easy chances to the Argentines.

Before the game began, the Chhattisgarh capital served as a perfect host to the top hockey teams of the world -- Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, India and Netherlands.

Showcasing vibrant visual art, talented artists from across the city welcomed the players, marking the start of the tournament. The opening ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Raman Singh and Governor Balramji Das Tandon.

The audience witnessed a glimpse of Chhattisgarh's vivacious folk and tribal culture. More than 400 folk artists from Bastar, Sargoja and Raipur took over the stadium to showcase Karam and Panthi, the most popular dance forms of the Satnami community of Chhattisgarh.

The event concluded with a soulful performance from Raga Band.

A special stamp on India captain Sardar Singh was also launched, honouring his contribution to Indian hockey.

The eight-team tournament is the year-ender of international hockey. All eight teams have automatically qualified for the quarter-finals which will be held on December 2 and 3.

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