Minnows France Stun Olympic Champions Argentina, Knock Spain Out

In what turned out to be the biggest upset of the men's hockey World Cup, minnows France on Thursday outclassed Olympic champions Argentina 5-3 in their final must-win pool A fixture to keep their quarter-final dreams alive.

The result meant Spain were knocked out of the World Cup after finishing last in the pool. Spain played out a 2-2 draw with New Zealand earlier in the day at the Kalinga Stadium.

Despite the loss, World No.2 Argentina secured direct qualification for the quarters while France and New Zealand will now take part in the cross over matches.

The top four teams -- one from each of the four pools -- will directly qualify for the quarters while the second and third placed teams will play cross over matches against the teams of other groups to grab the remaining eight spots in the quarters.

France ended their pool stage on the second spot with four points behind toppers Argentina (6 points). An inferior goal difference put New Zealand (4 points) at the third spot.

Also Read: India Win One, Draw One at Hockey World Cup: What’s Next?

France players celebrate their qualification after the win over Argentina.

In the last Pool A match, France scored four field goals through Hugo Genestet (18th minute), Aristide Coisne (26th), Gaspard Baumgarten (30th) and Francois Goyet (54th), while the other goal came from a penalty corner conversion by skipper Victor Charlet (23rd).

World no. 2 Argentina's goals came from the sticks of Lucas Martinez (28th) and two penalty corner strikes from Gonzalo Peillat (44th, 48th).

Earlier, New Zealand fought back two goals down to hold Spain to a 2-2 draw in their penultimate Pool A match and qualify for the knock-out stages of the World Cup.

World no. 8 Spain scored two field goals in the opening two quarters through Albert Beltran (9th minute) and Alvaro Iglesias (27th) to go into the halfway break with a comfortable 2-0 lead. However, the Black Sticks made a stupendous comeback in the final 10 minutes of the game and scored through Hayden Phillips (50th) and Kane Russell (56th) to share the spoils and secure their place in the cross-over round of the tournament.

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