Rotterdam: An extra-time goal by Pedro Ibarra carried Argentina to a 2-1 victory against Spain and fetched them a berth in the final of the Rabobnk Junior World Cup hockey tournament for men here Friday.
Spain, who led by 32rd-minute penalty corner goal by skipper David Algere, yielded ground in the face of persistent onslaught by Argentina who equalised in the 55th when Mattias Gonzalez set up Lucas Rossi for a deflection inside the circle.
Past the 75th minute, Ibarra, left unmarked on the right, drove home after a Spanish defender unwittingly cleared the ball straight to the argentine forward.
It was Argentinaís second consecutive entry into the World Cup final. They had lost to India in 2001 in Hobart.
Seventh-ranked Argentina fully deserved the victory. Following their surprise 3-1 win over the high-flying Australia Wednesday, Argentina were in an upbeat mood and their confidence reflected in the manner in which they handled the first-half reverse to bounce back.
On the other hand, Spain, ranked No. 1 in the tournament, depended far too much on their skipper, David Algere, who on the day was tightly marked.
Algere was forced to play from a withdrawn position that took away his effectiveness. Spainís failure to build on the first-half lead was to prove their undoing as they appeared content to fall back on the ropes and ride the punches.
Such a tactic was bound to backfire as Argentina, on resumption, mounted waves of attack and kept the Spanish defence under pressure that eventually paved the way for the equaliser.
A fast left-wing move saw Gonzalez in possession inside the circle and he showed presence of mind to essay a short pass to Rossi stationed near the goalmouth. Rossi wasted no time in slamming home from close.
Thereafter, the Spaniards barely survived the argentine attacks and the teams ended the regulation period tied 1-1.
Came the extra-time and Argentina persisted with their attacks and within five minutes, Ibarra cracked home to second angle from the right for the golden goal.
Meanwhile luckless Korea, who nearly made it to the semi-finals, went down 4-5 to Germany in a 5-8 classification match .
The Koreans, who were down to nine men after two players received yellow card suspension in the last 10 minutes, led 3-1 and 4-3. However, Germany equalised seconds before close and then went on to win the game with Sebastian Draguhn scoring the golden goal four minutes into the extra-time.
Germany meet The Netherlands for the fifth and sixth place decider after the Dutch defeated Pakistan 4-1. Korea face Pakistan to decide the 7-8 spots. (PTI)