The first shoot out of the Hero Hockey World League Final took place between New Zealand and Argentina after full-time delivered a 1-1 draw. The eventual winners were New Zealand after they won in the sudden death round of the penalty shoot out.
The match was very much a game of two halves, with New Zealand dominating the first 35 minutes and Argentina piling on the pressure in the second half.
Hero Man of the Match, Kane Russell (8') shot the Blacks Sticks into an early lead against Argentina in the third quarter final match in the Hero Hockey World League Final.
In a game that was fast-paced and combative, the New Zealand team began to play with the structure and speed that had been eluding them in the earlier pool matches.
Their pressure paid off and they were handed the chance to double their lead when Pedro Ibarra was adjudged to have fouled in the circle. A penalty stroke was awarded and New Zealand captain Dean Couzins stepped up, only to see his stroke hit the post.
Argentina worked hard to put the Black Sticks under pressure, but the Los Leones' attempts to gain meaningful possession were broken down by the industrious New Zealand midfield. Juan Manuel Vivaldi in the Argentine goal was called into action when Stephen Jenness fired a shot across the front of the goal.
In the second half Argentina began to pile on the pressure. Three penalty corners yielded no results, but the Black Sticks found themselves on the back foot as Argentina built waves of attack. Only determined defending maintained the Black Sticks slender lead, but for the first 15 minutes of the second half, Argentina were camped in the New Zealand half of the pitch.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, New Zealand appeared to have weathered the Argentine storm when they burst free to win a penalty corner. While this wasn't converted, it did give the beleaguered defence some respite from the continuous Los Leones attack. However, the defence couldn't hold out indefinitely and the inevitable occurred when Matias Paredes (59') scored from open play.
As neither team found the net in regular time, the game went to penalty shoot out. At the end of the first round, both teams were drawing, with two successful penalty attempts each.
As the players entered the sudden death round of the penalty shoot out, both Mazzilli and Hugo Inglis scored. Lucas Vila failed to score for Argentina, and it was Blair Hilton who became the hero of the hour as he took the ball wide around the Argentine goal keeper, Joaquin Berthold and scored to put New Zealand through to the semi-finals.
Coach Carlos Retegui said after the match that he thought his team had played a good second half, but that had not been enough to secure the win. "When we started to play we were good," he added.
Looking forward to his semi final confrontation with England, the New Zealand coach Colin Batch said: "England have been playing very well. We hope they have an off day. We have had an up and down tournament, we have faded during some of our matches and we need consistency over 70 minutes."
The captain of the Black Sticks, Dean Couzins, said: "This was an exciting way to win. We are really pleased with the first half, but there are still a lot of things we must improve on."
Explaining his role in the shoot out, goal keeper Devon Manchester added: "I just tried to stay on my feet as long as possible."