ARG 5-2 GER: What did Argentina do, from a tactical point of view, in order to win the game?

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Germany is a team that even in times of high stress, manages to remain calm and keep the tactical plan. During the quarter-finals, where Germany was down by 2 goals against New Zealand, the European team maintained its composure until the last second of the game where they found the victory. Today they found themselves in front of an Argentine team which executed the tactical plan to perfection, playing perhaps the best international game of their hockey history.

1st. Period:
Argentina started the game in a high pace by applying speed to each attack, and setting the recovery pressure on 3/4 of the pitch. They tried to repeat the same formula used in the previous match where tied in 4 goals. Argentina was able to break the German passing circuits and recovered many balls in the center of the field, which provided them with many possibilities of counter-attacks. Each time that Argentina took possession of the ball at the German side of the field, the line of defense joined the lines of attack providing an escape route and a release of the pressure. In addition, this position on the German side, allowed Argentina to recover the ball in a high place of the field.

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When Argentina had the ball on defence, they kept the patience when deciding the moments of attack and did not rush to play. This provided security in each play by keeping away any possibility of  German recovery and counterattack. Gonzalo Peillat, who until now was having a low percentage of short corner conversion, managed to close the first period with a perfect percentage by scoring 2 goals on 2 chances .

La defensa argentina jugando sin apurarse.
Argentine players taking their time when managing the ball possession…

2nd. Period:
Argentina used this period to keep the difference on the score and to let time go by, and they succeeded. Germany took more offensive positions by placing more players in the Argentine side but Argentina used a plan that always gave positive results against Germany: they played close on the defense and they took advantage of the opportunities in counter-attacks.

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Argentina trying to defend on half-court.

They played with distance between the defensive line and attackers who are experts in exploiting spaces. Argentina decided to attack with less number of players than on the first quarter and with this they kept the defensive tactical control over the opponent. Germany created scoring chances but they were always controlled by Vivaldi, who had an amazing game. Near the end, Peillat managed to score another goal on short corner.

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Argentina attacking with a few players only.

Peillat scored the 3 goals by shooting at the same place:

3rd. Period:
At the start of the second half Argentina repeated the same plan: to defend with every player in a deep and compact position, and to attack with low numbers. The German players were always under a numeric disadvantage in high positions on the opponent’s field. Meanwhile, the Argentine strikers continued to carry out movements that allowed defenders to connect with them by using long passes. Thus, Argentina kept attacking while retaining the defensive structure. The fourth goal for Argentina happened during this period.

The fourth goal for Argentina.

4th. Period:
A German player received a green card on the last minute of the previous period therefore they started with 10 players. Argentina managed to take advantage of this situation and scored the 5th goal after recovering the ball on the center of the field. At that moment, 13 minutes to go, Germany decided to take the goalkeeper Jacobi and play with 11 field players

Al final Alemania generó varias chances pero se encontró con un Vivaldi brillante.
Although Germany had many chances, Vivaldi had a really solid game.


Just like at the previous game against New Zealand, Germany controlled the possession of the ball and added 2 goals to the final score, but it was too late. Argentina executed the game plan to perfection with almost no flaws and they earn their place at the Olympic Final.

By Pablo Mendoza

Pablo Mendoza is an FIH Hockey Academy Educator and the owner of A Hockey World. Contact: