The rising temperatures in Tokyo clearly had an effect during a fiery men’s hockey encounter between Argentina and Spain, which ended in a bizarre end-of-match scuffle at the Oi Stadium.
With the Olympic pool match nearing a 1-1 conclusion in stifling heat, Spaniard David Alegre was left on the floor suffering cramp. Sportsmanship came to the fore when an Argentinian opponent came to the player’s need for help.
However, with the hooter sounding for the conclusion of the match, another Argentina player, Lucas Rossi, took exception to the Spaniard going down. He raced over and prodded his stick into Alegre’s head, clearly thinking that he was feigning injury.
Much to the chagrin of the Spanish players – the match had seemingly ended in good spirits between the two rival nations – a scuffle followed as Rossi, 36, was pushed away with a hand around his throat.
Rossi has now been suspended.
Alegre, who is contesting his fifth consecutive Olympics Games, said afterwards: “When you are in the Olympic Village it is like Euro Disney, but when you go onto the pitch it is like a normal game.
“The nerves, you must take them off the pitch and try to play hockey.”
On Sunday, Rossi was handed a one-match suspension by the International Hockey Federation for a breach of conduct.
Moreover, in accordance with competition rules, his suspension also means that Argentina will only be allowed to field a 15-strong squad for their next match.
With rolling substitutes allowed in the 11-a-side game, this could prove telling with Argentina down to four substitutes, instead of five, amid the searing temperatures in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Great Britain, the current women’s Olympic champions, lost their opening match, going down 2-1 to Germany on Sunday.
It was their first defeat at the Olympic Games since the semi-finals at London 2012, following their historic gold medal in Rio.
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