Argentina lived up to their billing and beat New Zealand 3-0 to inch closer towards a direct quarterfinal spot at the men’s hockey World Cup here on Monday.
Argentina were the better side on display as they created more chances and scored thrice through Agustin Mazzilli (23rd), Lucas Martinez (55th) to pocket full three points from the encounter at the Kalinga Stadium.
By virtue of two wins from as many games, Argentina is atop Pool ‘A’ with six points.
New Zealand are second with three points from two games ahead of Spain and France, both of whom have one point each.
Seven minutes from half-time, Argentina broke the shackles when Mazzilli scored his third goal of the tournament.
An inch-perfect defense-splitting pass from Gonzalo Peillat found Mazzilli unmarked inside the New Zealand box and the striker first controlled the ball and then sent it crashing into a board with a reverse hit.
Argentina extended their lead through Villa, who slotted home in the 41st minute after snatching the ball inside the box from the stickers of New Zealand skipper Blair Tarrant.
Five minutes from the final hooter, Argentina got their fourth penalty corner and Martinez scored from a rebound to shut the doors on New Zealand.
Meanwhile, skipper and goalkeeper Quico Cortes led from the front with a superb penalty stroke save to help three-time medallist Spain eke out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against lowly France in their second Pool ‘A’ match.
The draw kept both the teams in the hunt for the knockout round with one point apiece from two games.
From Online Sources