The sport -always- revenge. That illusion and that motto did not allow them to lower their arms after being scandalously disaffected from the Junior Pan American Championship in August (due to close contact with Covid-19 within hours of the tournament debut).
They went from the excitement of being able to represent the Argentine jersey to having to follow the games on social networks, isolated, with self-esteem on the floor. But they trained twice as much and came back stronger: this Sunday -after winning 4-2 aa Germany– they hung the gold medal of a world title, the most important in the category, and showed not only that they consolidated their winning mentality but that nothing is stopping them and that the future has already arrived.
Celebration of the champions. @XpressOdisha
A golden flashback to 2016. Is that Los Leoncitos beat Germany 3 to 2 in the final of the Junior World Cup but the result was still open. There was a minute left. The Europeans had already taken out the goalkeeper to have one more outfield player and thus go in search of a tie. But then it appeared Franco Agostini to take advantage of a counter and close the game. With pure emotion, he celebrated it in the rival goal, reflecting the sequence of one of the most remembered moments of Argentine hockey: the definition and the subsequent celebration of Agustín Mazzilli in Rio in that final with Belgium (also 4 to 2), to achieve the only Olympic gold medal so far. The example was there and the kids, five years later, recreated it to perfection.
The celebration of the last goal in Rio 2016 (AFP photo)
The celebration of Los Leoncitos in the 2021 World Cup
After the epic consecration in India, the DT of the selected one, Lucas Rey and the captain, Facundo Zarate, they told Ole the first sensations about coming back from Asia with the World Cup in his arms. “I am very happy, it is still difficult for us to fall. It was worth all the effort we made to get to this moment”, the central defender started, and continued: “We deserved it for everything we did during the process, for everything we trained, because we were left out of a Pan American, which was a hard blow. We knew we were going to have revenge and we had it.”
Facundo Zárate, the captain of Los Leoncitos, spoke with Olé (photo: @ facuzarate2)
Lucas and Mati Rey, Golden Lions in Rio 2016 (photo Instagram @lucasmrey)
Why is this team world champion? “For the effort, for the values, for never lowering his arms. For the maturity that these boys achieved in such a short time, demonstrating tremendous professionalism”, replied the medalist in Rio, who was at the head of the team together with Lucas Cammareri, who had finished runners-up at the Junior World Cup in 2001.
Lucas Rey, DT of Los Leoncitos (photo @lucasmrey)
Four years later, in 2005, a new litter would win the final in Rotterdam and since then the title has not been repeated.. Up to now. And in this regard, the coach said: “It is imperative that importance continue to be given to the development and formation of the future of Argentine hockey, beyond the present, whatever the moment it is going through”.
The happiness of the Argentine hockey kids. (Twitter)
The youth process, in hockey, is about cycles. The players know that reaching the World Cup in the category is -many times- the icing on the cake of a projection of four long but beautiful years, in which they are being trained as high-performance professional athletes (despite the fact that this sport continues to be an amateur in the country). In that sense, Rey reflected: “It is a tremendous pride to have worked with this spectacular group of people in such an important formative stage, that accompanying them With this very positive result, it becomes an ideal process closure. “
“What made me most proud as captain is the friendship and camaraderie we all had and the affection they transmitted to us. They are all very good people and that is worth more than any title”, said the 21-year-old from Córdoba, a bronze medalist in the Youth Olympic Games 2018 and that due to his age he is close to culminating with his stage in the Sub.
Seven of the youth world champions were also in Buenos Aires 2018: Agustín Cabaña Santi, Nehuen Hernando, Facundo Zárate, Ignacio Ibarra, Gaspar Garrone, Tadeo Marcucci and Facundo Sarto
Argentina’s path in the Junior World Cup
Los Leoncitos debuted in the tournament with a resounding win over Egypt (14-0), later they lost to the Germans 3 to 2 and they reached the quarterfinals after beat Pakistan 4-3 on the last date of zone D. They left on the way to the Netherlands by 2 to 1 and in semis defeated France on Australian penalties (3-1 after 0-0 in regular time). The finishing touch was the 4 to 2 with Germany to lift the long-awaited Cup. The national scorer was Lautaro domene, from the Royal Ombrage of Belgium, with 5 goals, who had the pleasure of closing the tournament with a hat trick.
Los Leoncitos paid homage to Maradona at the start of the tournament
The Golden Lion:
They are: Nehuen Hernando, Agustín Cabaña Santi, Facundo Zarate, Tadeo Mahon, Tadeo Marcucci, Matteo Fernandez, Francisco Ruiz, Lautaro Domene, Facundo Sarto, Joaquín Kruger, Joaquín Toscani, Ignacio Ibarra, Ignacio Nardolillo, Bruno Stellato, Lucio Méndez Pin, Bautista Capurro , Gaspar Garrone and Franco Agostini. (Iñaki Minadeo and Martín Fernández traveled as reserves).
Support for Las Leoncitas
Following the Men’s Junior World Cup, the women’s should begin in South Africa. But as a result of the new strain of Covid-19, the tournament was suspended and The Leoncitas, who were already on their way, had to return empty-handed. And the DT of the boys sympathized with them: “It is very sad news. Just as when I was a player and we saw the daily effort of the girls and they made us happy with their achievements, this hits us. It is a group that works very hard, I hope the sport will give them revenge”.
Las Leoncitas and another hard setback: the Junior World Cup was suspended (Photo CAH)
Just as this group had its revenge (with Germany and with being able to participate this year in a youth tournament), Rey wants the players to have theirs. It is likely that this tournament will be rescheduled for the first months of next year, with a date and venue to be confirmed by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), but there is no official information yet. They showed that Argentine hockey is at the top and that kids (hungry for -and- glory) are the bet for what is to come. “Once the Junior process is finished, we will make the corresponding report of each of the players who were part of the process so that the Los Leones coaches have at their disposal “Rey concluded. The base is.
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Little Golden Lion: the base is