Tuesday, 10 June 2014 | MYT 8:13 PM
Argentina whip S. Africa to reach first semis
Argentina player Lucas Vila celebrates after scoring to put his side 3-0 up against South Africa during a group stage match in the Hockey World Cup. The Pan American champions won 5-1. - EPA
THE HAGUE: Argentina qualified for their first-ever hockey World Cup semi-finals when they whipped South Africa 5-1 in their final Group B match at the Kyocera Stadium in The Hague, Holland.
The win on Tuesday gave the Argentinians 12 points from five matches to join hosts and leaders Holland in the last four from the group.
The Pan American champions will play title holders Australia in the semi-finals on Friday. Holland and England will contest the other semi-final.
With the defeat, South Africa finished last in the group with only a point to show. The African champions will take on pointless Malaysia in the 11th placing playoff on Thursday.
Joaquin Menini set Argentina on the way to victory with a 20th minute goal. Penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peilliat netted twice in the 25th and 61st minutes to put himself as the front-runner for the top scorer award with nine goals. Lucas Rey also scored a brace, in the 49th and 63rd minutes.
The South Africans replied through Clinton Panther in the 57th minute.
Rey said Argentina deserved their place in the last four.
“The team are working well together. There are ample experienced players and we also have the right tactics. We have a great penalty corner flicker in Gonzalo and that gives us a lot of confidence.
“It is great to make the semi-finals for the first time.
“We hope to go further and finish in the best possible position at the end of the tournament,” he added.