The hosts Argentina (Las Leonas) beat China 3-1 in the third round of Group B and, like Australia, totalled seven points in the table, but on goal difference ended second in the group, so will face South Korea in the quarter finals stage on Thursday.
Argentina under their new coach Emanuel Roggero knew that the game needed to be high scoring for them to finish top of their Group and he had made some tactical changes to try and achieve that which ultimately did not bear fruit with China clearly coming to the game defence- minded and hoping to disrupt the always attack-minded local side .
Argentina came out in typical attacking mode putting the Chinese under pressure with surging runs but to the shock of local fans , due to a defensive error . Mengrong Wu put the visitors in the lead after thirteen minutes (13) past debutant keeper Florence Mutio given her first outing in goal while Belen Succi was rested. Typically . Argentina simply kept up their offensive-minded forward runs resulting in Albertario Agustina levelling just four minutes later. Almost immediately Carla Rebecchi appeared to have scored a second but it was disallowed for dangerous play from a high take down. Throughout the game the Chinese stuck to their evident game plan with great discipline standing back mainly in their own half, waiting for Argentina to bring it to them and then launching a number of potentially threatening counter attacks. Towards the end of what was an exciting but ultimately frustrating first half Argentina drove in another shot on goal but it went agonisingly wide but then after a third short corner Rosario Luchetti was able to deflect in a cross from Slivina D'Elia . Argentina’s third goal came from a short corner courtesy of Delphie Merino after a second bite of the cherry with the help of Martina Cavallero after a defender had cleared off the line. Argentina continued to press forward throughout the second half with China only having a couple of chances on goal but denied by solid defence or Florence Mutio who had a great game in nets as did her Chinese counterpart.
Luciana Aymar showed some of her magical brilliance with some outstanding dribbling around defenders in the D but had a relatively quiet game being immediately surrounded closely by markers and hemmed in much of the time. In the end it was a happy but frustrating victory for the home side and the game statistics clearly showed the tactical difference between the two sides. Argentina enjoyed 73 % of possession in their opponents half to China’s 27% and twenty five penetrations to China’s five . The Chinese had just four shots on target to Argentina’s fourteen. Whether through repeating the same short corner routine rather than varying it, or through well disciplined defending and goal keeping, Argentina somewhat surprisingly could only convert two out of seven and China failed to capitalise on the two they won.
In the other results of the day, the Netherlands beat South Korea (3-1), England beat Germany (3-1) and Australia beat New Zealand (5-1), The final pool positions were as follows
Group A: 1 9Pts Holland, England 2nd 6, 3rd South Korea 1 (-6), 4th Germany 1 (-8),
Group B: Australia 7pts 1 (8), 2nd Argentina 7 (5), 3rd China 3, 4th New Zealand 0.
Argentina Florencia Mutio; Macarena Rodríguez, Silvina D´Elía, Noel Barrionuevo; Mariana Rossi; Florencia Habif, Luciana Aymar ©, Rosario Luchetti; Carla Rebecchi, Rocío Sánchez Moccia, Delfina Merino. Ingresaron: Martina Cavallero, Daniela Sruoga, Agustina Albertario, Mariela Scarone, Julia Gomes Fantasia, Josefina Sruoga.
Umpires Lisa Roach (Australia) Kelly Hudson (NZ) Video Umpire –Carol Metchette (IRL)
Quarter Finals Line Up
Thursday's quarter-finals start in the morning session, where Pool A winners the Netherlands will play New Zealand followed by Pool B winners Australia in action against Germany,
The evening session begins with Pool A runners up England facing China followed by Argentina will take on South Korea. All games will be live streamed via the FIH You Tube Channel which can be visited by clicking here.
Sources – Match report translated / augmented by John Coxon from original CAH Press / Rodrigo Spiess - Photo: Courtesy FIH