The XI FIP World Polo Championship Sydney has come to an end. The event will be recorded as one of the best World Championships in the history of the tournament. Sydney Polo Club and the tournament organizers delivered a world-class event with no detail ignored, and everything organized to perfection. After Argentina emerged victorious from a nail-biting final match with Chile, the day closed with the reassurance that Australia and most precisely Sydney, are destinations where you can find the best polo in the world, combined with excellent hosts.
Following solid victories over Australia and Spain, USA looked forward to the opportunity to play England for bronze on Sunday, October 29. England started out strong in the first with a field goal and penalty conversion effectively shutting out USA. Felipe Viana and Jesse Bray managed to get the USA on the board in the following two chukkers scoring two goals to England’s one. Play remained even in the fourth as both teams battled for third place, each contributing to the score board. With a one-goal lead moving into the final chukker of regulation time, England had the advantage.
USA was not about to give up hope however, as Viana hammered in back-to-back goals giving USA the lead for the first time. In the final minutes of play England’s Satnam Dhillon tied up the score, pushing the game into overtime. An intense sixth chukker ensued as each team brought out their best moves. An unfortunate foul for USA gave England a chance at a penalty conversion. Peter Webb capitalized on England’s opportunity scoring the golden goal and securing the bronze for his country in overtime with a final score of 6-5.
Despite a disappointing loss for USA, spirits were high among the players. “I feel honored to have represented my country and I want to thank the Association and brand for all of the support,” said Viana. “We want to thank the Higgins family, Australia and the horse lenders who made this all happen. We know to an extent how difficult it is to set this tournament up, and it requires the full support of the community to push forward and to be on the same page.”
The final contenders for the World Cup in Sydney met at 3:00pm AST to fight for the title. As with every final match, it appeared that both teams had studied their opponents and previous games carefully to ensure the best tactics. This game was not abundant in runs; the goals at the beginning were mostly penalties, but at the end, the game grew in intensity. During the fifth chukker, both teams were tied at 5-5, Chile suddenly scored a goal one minute before the bell tolled. But Argentina was determined to keep on fighting, Lucio Fernandez Ocampo, with a historical run, scored a new goal for his team and tied the game again.
The final chukker was quite dramatic as both teams struggled to score. Chile had more opportunities than Argentina, but Lucio Fernandez Ocampo, later awarded Most Valuable Player, scored the golden goal defeating Chile 8-7 in overtime. Argentina, undefeated, cheered as they celebrated their fifth World Championship title, proving once more, the golden standards that are a trademark of Argentine polo.