Hockey: Argentina win keeps qualifying hopes alive
LONDON (Reuters) - Argentina's 2-1 win over New Zealand in the women's hockey event on Thursday kept the world's number two team in contention to qualify from the group stages after a mixed start to the tournament.
The result leaves four sides tied on six points at the top of pool B with two games left to play. Only two out of Germany, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand will progress to the semi-finals.
Knowing that victory would put them at the top of the table New Zealand made the worst possible start when sloppy play from a defensive hit-out let in Argentina's Carla Rebecchi to slot home a shot that Kiwi keeper Bianca Russel should have stopped.
New Zealand slowly found their footing in the match but Argentina added another goal early in the second half when Rebecchi turned in a sharp cross from the byline.
Charlotte Harrison tapped in to give the Kiwi team hope with eight minutes to go but the Argentines held on to put themselves back in with a chance of progressing after a surprise defeat to the U.S. earlier in the tournament.
"After the USA game, we forgot about the loss and went into this game differently. We were more concentrated from the beginning of the game and more aggressive in both defense and attack," Rebecchi said.
In the other qualifying pool, Britain extended their unbeaten run at the Games, beating Belgium 3-0 and taking a huge step towards qualification for the next round. The home team are tied with the world number one Netherlands side, with both looking likely to progress.
British captain Kate Walsh returned to sit on the bench as an unused substitute after breaking her jaw in the opening game. Team coach Danny Kerry said her fitness would be tested on Friday with a view to returning to the pitch against China on Saturday.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Alison Wildey)
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