England men’s hockey captain Barry Middleton admitted fourth place at the World Cup would take some time to get over after 90 uncharacteristic seconds cost them dear in the bronze medal match with Argentina.
A tight affair for the first half, England were stunned by two Matias Paredes goals in as many minutes as Argentina claimed their first ever World Cup medal and left England heartbroken once more.
Paredes combined with Lucas Vila on both occasions – first receiving the ball in front of George Pinner in the 55th minute and finding a way through before slotting home after a neat lift from his Argentinean teammate.
England responded well but were thwarted by Argentina keeper Juan Vivaldi as he somehow denied Middleton at the death after a perfectly-executed penalty corner from Ashley Jackson.
Even when Argentina were reduced by a player after Lucas Rey’s yellow card with eight minutes to go Vivaldi was still on form to deny Jackson from another penalty corner and effectively end England’s hopes of bronze.
England have now lost their last two bronze medal matches at the World Cup, they were denied by the Netherlands four years ago, and skipper Middleton insisted the latest failure wouldn’t go away quickly.
“We knew what this tournament was going to be like and we made a couple of mistakes and they scored a couple of good goals. They were probably ones we could stop,” he said.
“It is pretty demoralizing to lose to a couple of bad minutes when the game had been so tight. We have played how we wanted to but we just didn’t do enough in the end.
“Give me a few days time and I might look back on it better, it is pretty hard to take right now. It has been an amazing tournament with everything that has gone on and the journey we have been on to get here.
“But we wanted a medal so badly and this is going to hurt pretty bad.”
© Sportsbeat 2014