Y.B. Sarangi

NEW DELHI: New Zealand missed some of its key players as it lost to Argentina on Sunday and spoilt its chances of making the semifinals of the hockey World Cup here.

Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontiflex said his team lacked on experience. “It is very disappointing to lose. It was a bad performance by New Zealand.

“We were low on experience due to the absence of some players — Hayden Shaw, Brad Shaw, Simon Child and Philip Burrows,” Pontiflex said.

The Kiwi custodian, who had a good showing, said, “Our penalty corner defence worked well. There were a lot of chances for the strikers, but they could not score today.”

Argentine skipper Matias Vila heaved a sigh of relief after his team registered the first points. “Our main aim was to win the match. We had some good performances, but we had empty pockets,” he said.

Vila lauded goalkeeper Juan Tomas Espinosa's effort. “He had a good match. He was feeling guilty (after the defeats). He had a big contribution in the win,” Vila said. Korean Hyo Sik You said he team was still hopeful for a berth in the last four. “It is difficult for us to reach the semifinals. The loss to New Zealand made things tougher for us. But we have not given up as yet and are still hopeful,” said You, who scored twice in his side's 9-2 win over Canada.

Mark Pearson of Canada blamed the big defeat on his team's poor showing in the second half, during which time the side had conceded as many as seven goals.

“One of our key players (Ranjeev Deol) has broken his finger. So, our bench strength is not very strong,” said Pearson.

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