Olympics-Hockey-India, Britain and Netherlands advance to men's quarter-finals


Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Hockey - Men's Pool A - India v Argentina - Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - July 29, 2021. Matias Rey of Argentina in action against Varun Kumar of India. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

TOKYO (Reuters) - India advanced to the quarter-finals of the men's Olympic hockey tournament on Thursday thanks to an inspired 3-1 win over Rio gold medallists Argentina while South Africa avoided being sent home after a surprise win over Germany.

The Netherlands and Britain secured their quarter-final spots after a 2-2 draw in their game, putting them out of reach of South Africa and Canada in their group.

India fought back after conceding an early goal against their South American opponents, pulling level in the second half and then scoring another two late goals. Harmanpreet Singh, Vivek Prasad and Varun Kumar all scored for India.

"Feeling great after the win, but there's a lot of things to improve," said defender Rupinder Pal Singh. "The important games are coming in a few days."

In Pool B, the fast South African team pulled off a 4-3 win over 2016 Olympic bronze winners Germany.

Despite being down a goal at halftime, South Africa levelled in the second half before sealing the match when a pass from 19-year-old rookie Mustaphaa Cassiem deflected off the stick of an opponent behind the German goalkeeper.

"We're disappointed," said Germany veteran Tobias Hauke, describing the loss as something the players had not expected.

"We weren't on the pitch today in all of the little things... We never got the dynamic which you need against a team like South Africa."

The Dutch led Britain 2-0 when the game went into the final quarter, thanks to goals by Thierry Brinkman and Jip Janssen.

After stepping up the pressure late in the game, Britain levelled with two goals by Sam Ward, including a penalty corner with four minutes to go.

World champions Belgium sent Canada home with a 9-1 victory to stay perfect in Pool B.

Even if they win against Canada on Friday, South Africa are unlikely to progress to the knockout stages due to Germany's much better goal difference.

If Germany secure one or more points through a draw or a win against the Netherlands in their final match they will be guaranteed a place in the knockout stages.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink, editing by Clare Fallon)

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