SA hockey girls beaten
Rosario - Eleventh-ranked South Korea stunned third-ranked China 2-1 and reigning champions Argentina beat 13th-ranked South Africa 5-2 on Sunday in the women’s field hockey World Cup.
England edged Spain 3-2 in the day's other Pool B match but the first shocker of the event came at China's expense.
China's Zhao Yudiao completed a neat exchange of passes with Gao Lihua in the circle, scoring the first goal of the tournament, followed by Korea’s Kim Young Ran’s equaliser in the first half.
After Park Mi Hyun cut through the left to score Korea’s winning goal, China struggled to find an equaliser in the last five minutes.
Despite the upset victory, Korea coach and former Korea men’s captain Kang Keon Wook is not over confident about Korea’s prospects in the tournament.
"It is too soon to be thinking about medals," Kang said.
China coach Kim Sang Ryul conceded China did not play well.
"We should give credit to the skill of Park’s goal for Korea but my defenders were watching her like spectators in the stands and not doing their job," Kim said.
Second-ranked host Argentina dominated South Africa early, displaying the speed with the ball and stickwork expected of the Champions Trophy holders.
Noel Barrionuevo converted Argentina’s second penalty corner chance but Argentina dropped off the pace, allowing South Africa to be competitive in the midfield and hold their own in defence.
Argentina’s partisan fans were silenced by Pietie Coetzee’s bullet penalty corner equaliser and South Africa thwarted Argentina’s attack until the break.
Two goals by Luciana Aymar in the five minutes after the break brought the crowd to their feet but again Argentina dropped their intensity until the last 10 minutes when Aymar made her third goal and Marine Russo added another.
Vida Ryan showed that no team can underestimate South Africa, surprising Argentina’s defence with a free-hit outside the circle, carrying to the top of the circle to drive into the top of the net for South Africa’s second goal.
"There is no doubt that Argentina is the best team here by virtue of their experience but we also have to do better by taking our opportunities to score when they come," South Africa coach Giles Bonnet said.
Carlos Retegui praised Argentina skipper and six-time International Player of the Year Luciana Aymar.
"She played fantastically well and there are few players who can score three goals in a game," Retegui said.
England was startled from complacency by Gloria Comerma’s drive conversion of Spain’s first penalty corner early in the first half.
Alex Danson scored the first equaliser followed by 20 minutes of close marking by Spain on England which upset England’s tempo and tempers.
England's Alex Danson and Spain’s Silvia Bonastre were penalised and when England earned a penalty corner in Bonastre's absence, Crista Cullen scored inside the left post with a powerful flick.
Charlotte Craddock set up England’s 3-2 go-ahead goal in the last minute before the break, bursting through Spain’s defence in the middle of the pitch and pass to Susie Gilbert to set up the goal.
Spain threw everything at England in the last 10 minutes of the scoreless second half but failed to win the equaliser.
In Pool A on Monday, Netherlands meet India, Germany play New Zealand and Australia face Japan.
Results from the women's World Cup field hockey tournament on Sunday:
China 1 (Zhao 11) South Korea 2 (Y Kim 23, M Park 51)
Spain 2 (Comerma 4, Petchame 31) England 3 (Danson 17, Cullen 31, Gilbert 35)
Argentina 5 (Barrionuevo 16, Aymar 37, 39, 63, Russo 70) South Africa 2 (Coetzee 22, Ryan 66)