India squandered their hard-earned lead on two occasions as they slumped to their second successive defeat losing 2-4 to World Cup bronze medallists Argentina in the Hero Champions Trophy, in Bhubaneswar, on Sunday.
India's perennial problem, their fragile backline came to hurt them again as their lead didn't even last a minute on both the occasions in the second Pool B match of the day, played in-front of 7000 strong capacity crowd at the Kalinga Stadium.
For India, Akashdeep Singh (30th minute) and Gurjinder Singh (37th) scored the goals, while Lucas Villa (30th), Juan Lopez (37th), Gustin Mazzilli (49th) and Joaquin Menini (59th) found the net for the winners.
While Indian forwards created chances, the defence were chasing shadows on a number occasions when the Argentines counter-attacked.
This loss was India's second on the trot in the tournament after the close 0-1 defeat against Olympic champions Germany on Saturday.
India will face the Netherlands in their last pool match on Tuesday, which will decide their quarterfinal opponent, while Argentina will be up against Germany.
It was end-to-end hockey in the first quarter but goals eluded both the teams.
India had the first clear chance in the eighth minute but wasted it. It was a great opening down the right from a counter-attack but Nikkim Thimmaiah over ran Lalit Upadhay's defence splitting diagonal ball.
Minutes later Indian goalie PR Sreejesh came to the picture, when he easily gloved away Juan Lopez's shot.
Argentina got their first penalty corner in the 16th minute but it went in vain as they failed to stop the push.
The Indian players looked a little out of sorts in the first quarter and were found wanting in front of the opposition striking circle.
The Indians managed to take the ball near the Argentine circle on many occasions but instead of trying to get in, they depended more on hits from outside hoping for somebody to get a deflection.
Five minutes into the second quarter skipper Sardar Singh and Dharamvir Singh combined well on the right flank to get inside the circle but latter's cross had no takers.
India's best scoring opportunity came in the 22nd minute when Kothajit Singh's pass from outside the circle found Lalit but his deflection hit the upright.
Then VR Raghunath was guilty of being selfish as after doing all the hard work to get inside the circle he went for glory and struck straight at Argentine goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi instead of passing the ball.
India, finally broke the deadlock a minute from halftime through Akashdeep who found himself in the right place at the right time to tap in Gurjinder diagonal pass.
The hosts' lead was shortlived as Argentina levelled the scores, seconds later in exactly the same way as Villa made no mistake in deflecting a diagonal ball into the net with both teams locked 1-1 at the breather.
Eight minutes into the third quarter, India restored their lead when Gurjinder scored from the hosts' first penalty corner with a powerful high dragflick.
But once again the Indians gave away their lead in no time, courtesy its fragile backline. A hit from outside the circle got deflected from Rupinder's stick and landed high in front of an unmarked Lopez, who hooked the ball into the net to restore parity for his side.
The repeated counter-attacks by the Argentines completely dismantled the Indian citadel in the third quarter.
A few minutes later, Gurjinder found the back of the net again from a penalty corner but his goal was disallowed for dangerous play after Argentina went for the referral.
Mazilli's strike in the 49th minute then put immense pressure on India to equalise but they failed find to find a reply.
Instead, Menini pumped in another goal another to seal the match in Argentina’s favour.
Netherlands outclass Germany 4-1
World Cup silver medallists the Netherlands spanked Olympic champions Germany 4-1 in the much-anticipated clash of Pool B, to register their second successive win in the tournament.
In a clash between two European giants, the Netherlands dished out a commanding performance to race to 3-0 lead at halftime.
The Dutch outfit was in complete control in the major part of the match and scored goals with precision against the crumbling defence of World No. 3 Germany.
Constantijn Jonker scored Netherlands first goal with a reverse stick shot from top of the circle in the 11th minute.
The Dutch pumped in two more field goals in the second quarter through Diede van Puffelen (25th) and Rogier Hofman (29th) to find themselves in a comfortable position at the break.
Van Puffelen scored his second goal of the tournament from close range from a left wing attack before Hofman tripled the Netherlands lead with a thunderous shot.
The Germans had their chances in the second quarter but could not breach the defence of Dutch goalie Jaap Stockmann.
Nine minutes from the final hooter, the Netherlands scored their fourth goal when Jeroen Herzberger beautifully finished a pacy attack with a neat touch to Seve van Ass' backhand cross.
The Germans scored a consolation goal through Florian Fuchs with five minutes left.
With two wins from as many games, the Netherlands lead Pool B with six points, while Germany have just two points from their 1-0 win over India on Saturday night.