Bhubaneswar, Dec 6 (IANS) In what turned out to be the biggest upset of the ongoing men’s hockey World Cup, minnows France on Thursday outclassed Olympic champions Argentina 5-3 in their final must-win pool A fixture to keep their quarter-final dreams alive.
The result meant Spain were knocked out of the World Cup after finishing last in the pool. Spain played out a 2-2 draw with New Zealand earlier in the day at the Kalinga Stadium here.
Despite the loss, World No.2 Argentina secured direct qualification for the quarters while France and New Zealand will now take part in the cross over matches.
As per the format of the tournament, the top four teams — one from each of the four pools — will directly qualify for the quarters while the second and third placed teams will play cross over matches against the teams of other groups to grab the remaining eight spots in the quarters.
France ended their pool stage on the second spot with four points behind toppers Argentina (6 points). An inferior goal difference put New Zealand (4 points) at the third spot.
For the French side, Hugo Genestet (18th minute), skipper Victor Charlet (23rd), Aristide Coisne (26th), Gasper Baumgarten (30th) and Francios Goyet (54th) were the goal scorers while Lucas Martinez (28th) and two penalty corner strikes from Gonzalo Peillat (44th, 48th) could not revive Argentina’s fortunes.
Earlier, New Zealand bounced back from a deficit of two goals to hold Spain to a 2-2 draw to virtually end the Spaniards’ chances of qualifying for the knock-outs.