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The Vantage Black Sticks women have been knocked out of the Hockey World Cup going down 2-0 to a strong Argentina side in the team's cross-over match in London.
Separated by just one place in the world rankings there was nothing to choose between the two teams in the opening quarter.
The Vantage Black Sticks Women started with some busy attack work but it was Argentina who came closest to breaking the deadlock. Lucina von der Hyde’s strike on goal well saved by New Zealand goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon. World player of the year Delfina Merino also firing over the crossbar from the middle of the circle.
Up the other end good work from Stacey Michelsen led to Shiloh Gloyn getting a shot in on the Argentinian goal but it was kicked away to safety by goalkeeper Succi.
Good pressure from New Zealand prevented the South Americans from getting into their stride and Argentina’s lack of clinical finishing continued.
New Zealand were also struggling to properly test Belen Succi between the Argentinian posts, Gloyn with another attempt to deflect the ball home after a strong cross from the right flank, tight marking from the opposition putting her off with the ball going wide.
The 1st quarter went one way and then the other with Argentina edging possession with 57%, both teams recording 3 shots each.
New Zealand came out the blocks quickly in the 2nd quarter, good work from Anita McLaren on the right led to a half chance for Kelsey Smith but she couldn't contact cleanly and the ball dribbled wide.
Argentina upped the pace and forced two penalty corners in quick succession. Then came something many struggled to remember happening before. A strong penalty corner shot from Argentina forced a great save from New Zealand's goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon. The ball fell to Habif who would have slotted home the rebound with ease. As she went to strike the ball however O’ Hanlons glove flew through the air and the striker connected with the equipment rather than the ball. After a video referral Argentina were awarded a penalty stroke.
Noel Barrioneuvo duly stepped up and slotted the ball away off O'Hanlons left pad into the bottom right hand corner.
The Black Sticks came back strong with Olivia Merry firing a pass across goal towards Shiloh Gloyn who looked to deflect the ball into the net. Against strong Argentinian defending however she failed to connect properly and the chance went begging.
Merino had a golden opportunity to double Argentina’s lead with a reverse stick shot in the circle but O’Hanlon stood up well to prevent the ball going in the net. Argentina went into the break 1-0 up and it was New Zealand with it all to do.
The South American’s became more dominant in the second half with three penalty corners in a row, The Black Sticks held firm however keeping themselves in the game.
Argentina continued to press and doubled it’s lead from a well worked penalty corner. The ball came back to taker Augustina Habif who played it across to her captain Delfino Merino who smashed the ball into the back of the Kiwis net. Argentina led 2-0.
With its world cup hopes slipping away in the dying minutes New Zealand took off goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon converting defender Brooke Neal into a kicking fullback, giving the Kiwis the extra outfield player.
But it was to no avail and the Kiwis lost by two goals.
Vantage Black Sticks Women’s coach Mark Hager said his team should have converted its chances in the first half.
“We played well first half but second half we lost a bit of structure and pattern and just didn’t play well in the second half at all.”
“They’re gutted as they are out of the tournament. There's a few tears being shed as there should be, they're a disappointed group as they didn’t come here to finish in the bottom half of the competition but unfortunately that's what happens.”
Argentina now progress to the quarter-finals to play Australia.