Defending champions Argentina beat Germany 3-0 and USA posted a runaway 5-0 victory over China to lead the race for semifinal spots in the women’s hockey World Cup after posting impressive wins in Group B here on Friday.

South Africa scored its first win in three outings when it handed down a shock 4-1 defeat to 2012 Olympic bronze medallist England, which has now suffered three consecutive defeats.

Stamping their authority against the German defence, the Argentine girls surged ahead with a fourth-minute penalty corner conversion by Silvina D’Elia.

Noel Barrionuevo then converted a penalty corner in the 32nd minute and Carla Rebecchi scored in open play in the 45th minute to shatter the German hopes.

In the other match of the group, Katie O’Donnell scored three goals for USA, which finished at the bottom of the 12-team competition at the 2012 Olympics.

She opened the scoring with an open play strike in the fourth minute. Michelle Vittese increased the American lead in the 10th minute before O’Donnell got back into the goal-scoring act with successive strikes in the 30th and 63rd minutes.

Kelsey Kolojejchick rounded off USA’s tally three minutes from the hooter.

China and Germany had four points each from their previous two matches, but slipped a notch behind by failing to add any points on Friday.

Kathleen Taylor, Sulette Damons, Shelley Russell and Dirkie Chamberlain shot on target for South Africa to make it 4-0 before England pulled one back through Nicola White.

Argentina scored a rousing 3-1 victory over New Zealand in the men’s World Cup. A hat-trick of penalty corner conversions by Gonzalo Peillat lifted the Argentine challenge against New Zealand.

Peillat opened the account with his first penalty corner strike in the 44th minute, only for New Zealand to equalise with a flash strike by Stephen Jenness five minutes later. Peillat scored again in the 51st and 69th minutes to give Argentina three points from the crucial encounter.

The results: Men: Argentina 3 (Gonzalo Peillat 44, 51, 63) bt New Zealand 1 (Stephen Jenness 49).

Women: Argentina 3 (Silvina D’Elia 4, Noel Barrionuevo 32, Carla Rebecchi 45) bt Germany 0; USA 5 (Katie O’Donnell 4, 30, 63, Michelle Vittese 10, Kelsey Kolojejchick 67) bt China 0; South Africa 4 (Katleen Taylor 17, Sulette Damons 32, Shelly Russell 40, Dirkie Chamberlain 52) bt England 1 (Nichola White 51).

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