IPOH: South Korea demolished Asian champions Pakistan 4-0, while top seeds Britain lost 2-3 to Argentina, in a day of upsets at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Monday.
The results catapult Argentina to second place in the rankings, with six points from four games, behind New Zealand in the seven-team tournament which is an important last warm-up for the London Olympics.
In a match that saw South Korea repeatedly overwhelm the Pakistani defence, who could not match their rivals’ pace or tactics, Nam Hyun-Woo opened the scoring for South Korea before converting a penalty corner to make it 2-0.
The third goal came in the 49th minute from You Hyo-Sik, who dived full stretch to flick the ball into the goal. Hyun Hye-Sung scored the final goal to seal the match for South Korea.
It was their 14th win over the Pakistanis in 56 meetings. Eleven of the matches had ended in a draw.
“Pakistan did not look hungry at all as they seemed to lack motivation,” South Korean team manager Kim Yoon-Dong said.
“I am happy with this win but we still have Britain and New Zealand to overcome if we harbour hopes of” a place in the tournament’s finals, he added.
Pakistan coach Khawaja Muhammad Junaid said the blue turf, which was “bouncy and slippery,” had made it difficult for his team, but conceded the surface was “no excuse for the heavy defeat.”
In another upset at the competition in Ipoh, Malaysia, Argentina beat tournament favourite Britain, who are ranked fourth in the world.
Argentina’s Matias Paredes opened the scoring before Ashley Jackson converted a penalty corner to equalise for Britain.
But the Argentinians quickly regained control, with Paredes scoring again and Lucas Cammareri giving the South American team a 3-1 lead.
Britain pulled one back when Jackson converted another penalty corner in the 65th minute, but by this time the game already appeared over.
Britain, who narrowly beat India Sunday and have also drawn with hosts Malaysia, now have four points.
In the last match Monday, India kept alive their chance of a place in the finals on Sunday with a 3-2 win over Malaysia, the only team in the tournament who have not qualified for the Olympics.
The Indians dominated play in the early stages with goals from Danish Mujtaba and Shivendra Singh until Malaysia’s Muhamad Amin Rahim scored.
But Tushar Khandker restored India’s two-goal lead in the 43rd minute so that even another goal from Malaysia’s Muhamad Fitri Saari couldn’t change the outcome.
India have six points from four matches after two wins and two defeats and currently rank third in the table.