Argentina enter maiden semifinals; India take on S Korea for ninth spot

Argentina enter maiden semifinals; India take on S Korea for ninth spot

Argentina made their maiden appearance in the men's hockey World Cup semifinals after posting a comprehensive 5-1 victory over South Africa at the Kyocera Stadium here on Tuesday.

Argentina's victory, their fourth in five outings, gives them 12 points and ousts Olympic champions Germany from the semifinal race. Argentina, continued their robust game to seal their first-ever semifinal with Gonzago Peillat and Lucas Vila scoring two goals each.

South Africa's lone goal came from the sticks of Clinton Panther, but Argentina had by then done enough damage to seal the match. 

South Africa had chances, notably in the early stages of the second half, when Justin Reid-Ross was unlucky not to see his cracking shot beat Juan Vivaldi in the Argentine goal. The Argentine team took the lead in the 20th minute through Joaquin Menini.

The ball was stolen from the South African defender and Menini took full advantage, slamming the ball past Erasmus Pieterse to make it 1-0. The lead was doubled within three minutes when Gonzalo Peillat again found himself on the scoreboard.

The goal was a penalty corner, but it was not a typical Peillat rocket, but rather the ball trickled over the line after Pieterse made the initial save.

A fabulous goal from Lucas Vila in the 49th minute sealed the victory for Los Leones. The midfielder picked up the ball just outside the circle and taking the ball wide of the defender, slammed it home with a reverse stick shot into the roof of the South Africa goal.

South Africa worked hard to press home their three man advantage but found the Argentine resistance, led by Lucas Rey, to be unbreakable. In the semi-finals, it is most likely that Argentina will face reigning champions Australia, although there remains a slim chance that Olympic Champions produce the goods despite missing out on semi-finals  Argentina's previous best finish in the men's World Cup was sixth position they secured in the 1986 and 2002 World Cups. 

In the other Group B encounter, Germany ended their campaign in positive fashion by claiming a 6-1 victory over Korea. 

Looking to improve

India will be seeking to overcome Asian champions South Korea in the play-off for the ninth position, after they failed to improve upon their eighth-place finish in the last (2010) edition at New Delhi.

Results: Men: England: 3 (Nick Catlin 19th, Ashley Jackson 39th, Lain Lewers 66th) bt Belgium: 2 (Thomas Briels 13th, Tanguy Cosyns 63rd). 

Argentina: 5 (Joaquin Menini 20th, Gonzalo Peillat 25th, 61st, Lucas Vila 49th, 63rd) bt South Africa: 1 (Clinton Panther 57th).

Germany: 6 (Christopher Wesley 19th, Benedikt Furk 22d, Martin Zwicker 33rd, Florian Fuchs 61st, Oliver Korn 65th, Christopher Zeller 71st)  bt Korea: 1 (Hyunwoo Nam 51st) Women: Japan: 2 (Ayaka Nishimura 44th, Akane Shibata 63rd) drew with Belgium: 2 (Emilie Sinia 37th, Manon Simons 66th). United States: 4 (Caroline Nicholas, Katie Reinprecht, Lauren Crandall, Rachel Dawson) bt South Africa: 2 (Marsha Cox, Lisa Marie Deetlefs).  

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