THE HAGUE - Penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat's three-goal burst kept Argentina on course for making the semifinals of the men's hockey World Cup with a resounding 5-0 victory over Asian champions South Korea at the Kyocera Stadium here today.
Logging nine points from four matches, Argentina stayed ahead of Olympic champions Germany, who are in danger of failing to make the semifinals only for the second time in World Cup history.
Peillat converted two early penalty corners to give Argentina a two-goal lead by the seventh minute. Lucas Vila then scored a field goal, before Peillat returned for his third goal in the 20th minute that gave the Argentines a 4-0 lead at half-time.
Guillermo Schickendantz rounded off Argentina's scoring midway in the second session with an open play strike. Two-time champions Germany today defeated New Zealand 5-3 for their second win in four Group B outings, giving them six points in four games. But the lone-goal losses to hosts The Netherlands and Argentina have pushed two-time champions Germany to the brink. Until now, it was only in the first World Cup in 1971 that Germany did not feature in the semifinals.
The Netherlands have nine points from three successive wins and will play South Africa later tonight. Even a draw will take three-time World Cup winners The Netherlands to the semifinals. Martin Zwicker scored twice for Germany today, while Florin Fuchs, Christopher Zelller and Benedikt Furk contributed a goal each. Zellar could have added another goal, but missed a penalty stroke. Andy Hayward scored a hat-trick for New Zealand with his last two goals coming in the last four minutes of the match.