England and Argentina qualify for semi-finals, Aymar scores goal of the World Cup

England 2 South Africa 1
Korea 3 Spain 3
Argentina 2 China 0

England’s 2-1 win over South Africa, followed by Spain and Korea’s 3-3 draw means England and Argentina are now guaranteed a semi-final place in the 2010 hockey world cup. Argentina put away a determined china with a Noel Barrioneuvo corner that broke the net (literally) and an individual goal of stunning brilliance from Luciana Aymar. ‘The Magician’ picked up the ball 40m from goal, produced her trademark right-to-left angled run, straightened into the circle and slipped the ball past an advancing Chinese keeper. If a better goal has been scored in a World Cup – I haven’t seen it. The stadium will still be rocking on Monday for the blockbuster between England and Argentina which will decide who will face the top team in group A.
A win or draw for Argentina will give them the ‘easier’ route to the final against the pool A runners up, but that pool is still wide open with the top two sides Germany and Netherlands to play tomorrow. Australia are also in with a chance of a semi-final spot from that group.

England’s win came on the back of two goals from in-form midfielder Helen Richardson. The first from a smash from the top of the circle in the ninth minute. The second in the 48th minute from the same right post penalty corner deflection move that bagged her a hatful of goals at the Champions Trophy six weeks ago.
“This team is showing real grit and determination,” said Richardson.”We haven’t showed our best hockey yet in this tournament. We are improving with each game but the thing that has been most prominent has been our wanting to win. That is a big step forward for us and that is the thing that has got us into this position.”
England coach Danny Kerry said he had been pleased with his side’s control of the game until two sendings off in the second half. Ashleigh Ball was yellow carded just after Richardson’s second goal, then Alex Danson picked up a yellow three minutes later leaving England with nine players on the pitch.
“I was really pleased right up as far as the sendings off. We had shots and short corners and I don’t think there had been a meaningful shot of any sort against us. We should have scored more, ” said Kerry.
“I thought we were playing very well but having only nine men on the pitch changed the nature of the game. The Alex Danson card was ridiculous. There were two balls on the pitch and all nshe did was move one ball off the pitch. Things like that can cost you a tournament, and that needs to be looked at.”
South Africa’s goal came, while Danson was still off the field, from a Piete Coetzee corner flick, just inside Beth Storry’s stick-side post. The South African’s had another chance to equalise in the closing minutes, but failed to trap a penalty corner injection.