Argentina may have reached the title-match of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final in Bhubaneswar but their ever-aggressive coach Carlos Retegui isn’t particularly happy with the scheduling of the tournament.
On Friday, when rain turned the Kalinga Stadium turf into a slushy ground, the Rio Olympics champions played their fifth match in seven days; and Retegui vowed to take it up with the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Argentina played their two knockout games, the quarters and the semis, on consecutive days; but the super-fit South Americans withstood the rigors of two tough matches, especially the rain-hit semifinal against the hosts.
In comparison, India had a day-off before their last-four clash.
“India had a day’s rest and were in better condition than us as we played a day before,” Retegui said, before highlighting another alleged bias.
“In nine days (including Saturday’s semifinal), Australia has played five matches, whereas we have played five games in seven days. That’s not fair,” Retegui, who came to the press conference with an interpreter, said.
“We will take it up with the FIH,” he added.
However, Argentina will also benefit from the scheduling as they played the first semifinal on Friday and will have a rest day on Saturday when the second semifinal is scheduled. The final is to be played on Sunday.
“I don’t know why both the semifinals are not played on the same day,” Retegui questioned.
The format of the tournament, which allows all eight teams to progress to the quarterfinals irrespective of results in pool stage, was also questioned by the Argentine coach.
“This type of tournament format is not fair. You play well in the pool but (can crash out if you) lose in the quarterfinals,” a concerned Retegui said.
World No.3 Belgium won all their matches in Pool A but lost to India in sudden death shootout to bow out of the race for a podium finish.