Hockey: Masotta makes mark: South Americans on course for double triumph

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The Independent Online
ARGENTINA, who won the Under-21 World Cup last September, reached the final of the Waterford Crystal Women's World Cup here yesterday after a 2-0 victory against the United States. They will now play Australia, who beat Germany by the same score, in tomorrow's final.

Karina Masotta, a 23-year- old physical education teacher, gave Argentina the lead in the 47th minute when she followed up Sofia Mackenzie's penalty-corner shot before picking the ball off the goalkeeper's pads. Then, in the 65th minute, she collected a long clearance and laid on a perfect pass for Vanina Oneto, who put the game beyond doubt.

In a boring, bruising first half in which neither goalkeeper was tested, Argentina always appeared to have the greater technical skills, but it was only a half-time reshuffle, with Gabriela Pando moving to the right wing and Masotta moving to the left, which transformed the game.

In contrast to the first semi- final, Australia's 2-0 win over Germany was full of splendid action and played at high speed. A cracking shot by Renita Farrell from the edge of the circle after 10 minutes put Australia in control. Germany fought back at the start of the second half but, after forcing five penalty corners, their challenge began to fade. It finally ended in the 64th minute, when Michelle Andrews scored Australia's second from a penalty corner.

In the fifth/eighth places play-offs, the Netherlands, the defending world champions, beat Spain 2-0 and will play South Korea, who had a comfortable 4-1 win against China, in the fifth/sixth places game today.

England, without a match yesterday, still have two more games to play. The first is against Ireland this morning, and they must win to take the final place in the Olympic qualifying tournament to be played in Cape Town in November next year.

WATERFORD CRYSTAL WOMEN'S WORLD CUP (Dublin) Semi-finals: Argentina 2 United States 0; Australia 2 Germany 0. 5th-8th places play-offs: South Korea 4 China 1; Netherlands 2 Spain 0.