October 29th, 2017 | Sydney, Australia
Argentina world champions for the 5th time, thanks to an overtime goal by Lucio Fernandez Ocampo.
Amid the claps of horses’ hooves and the swinging of mallets, thousands of polo lovers waited with bated breaths at the Sydney Polo Club. The air was charged with anticipation, as the players moved towards a nail-biting finish.
Third FIP World Championship went to Argentina, with a remarkable overtime goal by Lucio Fernandez Ocampo. On the field, the match was as dramatic as it could get, with Ocampo scoring the goal that led to a tie for Argentina. Victory and defeat hinged on one crucial second that seemed to stretch interminably.
Here’s how the two quartets lined up for the final:
Argentina: Lucio Fernandez Ocampo, Héctor Guerrero, Valentín Novillo Astrada, Tomás Panelo
Chile: José Martínez, José Zegers, Andrés Vial, José Pereira
Right from the start, Argentine players knew they had met their match in Chile. The Argentine attack was ruthlessly and skillfully offset by the Chileans. Their repeated attempts to free up the play were blocked.
As realisation dawned upon both the sides that it was not going to be easy, Argentine players started showing signs of pressure. Over six chukkas, Argentina committed as many as 15 fouls, whereas Chile only 4. The game witnessed a lot of pauses, and not much abundance in runs. Most of the goals in the 1st half were scored through penalties. But as the clock ticked, the game began to gather momentum and became a very tight affair.
The scoreboard displayed a perfect 5-5 in the 6th chukker. Chile managed to score one minute before the bell, but a determined Argentina side soon equalised by a display of excellence from Lucio Fernandez Ocampo.
The intense final chukka too failed to decide a winner, as both the finalists added a goal each to the scoreboard. As the game went into the extra time of 30 seconds, José Pereira’s attempted long pass was blocked by Ocampo. Argentina’s hero of the day then took the ball nearside and rolled it through the posts, to ensure fifth World Championship title for his country, and a MVP award for himself.
Image Credits- Marcos Cerdeira for PoloLine