It is final the day of pool play and the USA have gone undefeated rounding out their matches with a 4-2 win over South Africa. Their fate in the semi-finals will be decided tonight as Argentina play China (17:30 CET), while England has found their first win, 3-1, over Germany.
WOMEN Pool B: USA v South Africa 4-2 (1-0)
Much was resting on this game, with South Africa desperate to finish the pool round in fifth place or higher to give themselves a chance to contest positions well above their current FIH World Ranking (12). The USA, by contrast, were seeking three points to cement their place at the top of the table and put pressure on Argentina in the later pool B game this afternoon. Whoever finishes second in the pool will face the Netherlands, while the pool winner will face Australia.
WOMEN Pool B: Germany v England 1-3 (0-0)
The pool match between England and Germany had the hallmark of a game in which both teams knew they were only playing for pride and didn’t want to take chances that might see them concede a goal. The first half was a turgid affair with both teams defending hard and showing very little innovation or attacking ambition. There were only a handful of shots from either team and these were dealt with well by both goalkeepers, Germany’s Barbara Vogel and England’s Maddie Hinch.
WOMEN Pool B: Argentina v China 1-1 (1-0)
Carlos Retegui created a remarkable moment of history by guiding two international teams to the semi-final stages at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, with Argentina’s women claiming a place in the last four only hours after the men had achieved exactly the same thing. Las Leonas reached the semi-finals of the women’s competition thanks to a 1-1 draw with China, a result which guaranteed a second place finish behind USA, the surprise winners of Pool B in the final match of the tournament to be played at the wonderful GreenFields Stadium here in The Hague. All remaining World Cup matches will take place in the 15,000 seater Kyocera Stadium.
In the men’s event on the final day of pool play where all of the final qualification games will be decided, Argentina booked their ticket to the semi-finals after a 5-1 win over South Africa. Gonzalo Peillat continued his scoring terror with two more, while Lucas Vila also added two to the sheet. Also competing today in Pool B are Germany and Korea (13:00 CET), as well as New Zealand and the Netherlands (19:45 CET).
MEN Pool B: Argentina v South Africa 5-1 (2-0)
Argentina made history when they beat South Africa 5-1 to qualify for the semi-finals of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. Los Leones have never qualified for the semi-finals of a senior major tournament in their 121 year history, so this was a special moment for Carlos Retegui and his men.
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. But really this was South American party-time as the men in blue and white scored five goals, displayed outrageous skills and flirted with self-destruction when they were reduced to nine men on the pitch for several minutes during the second period of play.
MEN Pool B: Germany v Korea 6-1 (3-0)
Germany ended their Pool B campaign in positive fashion by claiming a 6-1 victory over Korea, although it proved to be only a small consolation to the fact that the Olympic Champions have missed out on the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1971.
Argentina’s 5-1 triumph against South Africa earlier in the day killed off any hopes of Max Mueller’s men claiming a top two finish in Pool B, ensuring that Los Leones join host nation the Netherlands in the semis. The best Germany can now hope for is a 5th place finish, which would equal the position that they achieved at the 1971 World Cup in Barcelona, Spain.
MEN Pool B: New Zealand v Netherlands 1-1 (1-0)
A big performance from the Black Sticks put the Netherlands under pressure and held them to a 1-1 draw in the final pool match of this Rabobank Hockey World Cup. The result means that the Netherlands will be playing England in the Kyocera Stadium on Friday night, while New Zealand will be playing Spain for 7/8 place. For the Netherlands, this means they are unbeaten in their pool and finish one point ahead of Argentina. New Zealand, who came into the tournament with high expectations of a top six finish will be disappointed that they have failed to reach that target.
For more results, schedule, highlights and more visit the event website at Rabobankhockeyworldcup2014.com
Photograph: Sally Walton 150 caps, (it also was her birthday today!) flowers were presented by England’s High Performance Manager, Danny Kerry (FIH/Frank Uijlenbroek (c)