Argentina in limbo after NZ hockey defeat

Amsterdam: Argentina defeated New Zealand 3-2 in the semi-final pool at the women`s Champions Trophy field hockey here Saturday but must wait for the outcome of the South Korea and Netherlands match to see if they have made the final.

Argentina can only go through if Netherlands beat Korea by three or more goals to put the South Americans into second place ahead of South Korea in the pool table.

Carlos Retegui, Argentina coach, dislikes this format of the tournament.

"I am sad we lost and I am sad that the format possibly allows Korea to win only one game and still make the finals," Retegui said.

New Zealand coach Mark Hagar took the contrary view.

"I like the format because it means that teams which produce consistent performances will progress to the finals," Hagar said.

Argentina dominated the first half, scoring three goals into New Zealand`s open net in what looked like developing into a high scoring game for Argentina.

First Soledad Garcia beat two defenders and rounded New Zealand goalkeeper Sally Rutherford to drive into goal.

Luciana Aymar exchanged passes with Garcia minutes later to burst into the circle and complete a soft goal after Garcia drew Rutherford out.

Moccia Sanchez finished Argentina`s scoring with an easy put into goal of a cross from the right.

New Zealand hit back, earning the first penalty corner of the game, converted by Clarissa Eshuis with a clean flick high into the net after the half time siren.

New Zealand took the wind out of Argentina with Charlotte Harrison`s scramble across the line of a rebound off Eshuis` second penalty corner flick, early in the second half.

Luciana Aymar put Argentina`s lack of power in the second half down to attitude.

"After New Zealand`s second goal it was mentally hard for us to continue," Aymar said.

Hagar was pleased with New Zealand`s performance.

"I am proud of the girls and we were unfortunate not to come away with a draw in the second half," Hagar said.

"We did better in the second half because we held possession longer and made more passes," he added.

Bureau Report

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