Two draws and a goal scored after the siren marked incredibly tight day four action at the women’s Samsung Champions Trophy in Canberra.
With Netherlands and Australia entering the round needing a victory to secure a place in Sunday’s final with a victory, neither could secure a winning goal in a pair of 1-1 draws.
A goal near half time to WorldHockey Young Player of the Year nominee Ellen Hoog had the Netherlands on target for a win and a spot in the final. However China responded almost immediately and levelled the scores.
Neither team could earn an outright victory, opening the door for Argentina to swoop in the late match against Australia if they could earn maximum points.
Australia again rode their luck defensively with potentially costly turnovers not punished by the Argentinean strike line.
The levelling goal was scored with the Hockeyroos’ only penalty corner (and shot at goal) for the match; Madonna Blyth ghosting in front of the Argentinean defence nine minutes before full time to level the scores with a neat deflection.
Argentina now find themselves in the same position as 2004, when they needed results going their way in the final round to make the final. On that occasion in Rosario, Germany and Netherlands played out a draw to deny the home team a berth in the final and themselves advance to the decider.
Germany was the day’s sole outright winner with a penalty corner goal to captain Marion Rodewald after the full time siren giving them a win over Korea, their first of the tournament.
The Olympic champions had a goal reversed midway through the second half and it looked like they would have to settle for a draw before Rodewald latched onto the loose ball.
Despite a horror start to the tournament which included a record defeat by the Netherlands, Germany are now favoured to play for the bronze medal.
Australia and Netherlands clash in the final match of the preliminary rounds on Saturday and in a similar scenario to last year’s event, a positive result for either or both teams will be enough for them to advance, regardless of the outcome of Las Leonas’ clash with Korea.
The other match on Saturday is Germany against China, a likely preview to Sunday’s bronze medal playoff.
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