| Argentina’s Cecilia Rognoni takes evasive action during the match against Russia in Perth on Wednesday. Argentina won 1-0. (Reuters)
Perth: China breezed into the semi-finals of the women’s hockey World Cup on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over New Zealand.
The Chinese — who had to beat New Zealand to make it through after South Korea’s 6-2 victory over Scotland earlier in the day — saw them off with two first-half goals.
They will meet the in-form Dutch in the semi-finals. China drew 1-1 with The Netherlands at the Champions Trophy in Macau in August, an event the Chinese went on to win.
Fu Baorong tipped in a pass from Hou Xiaolan in the 13th minute and Cheng Hui tapped in a rebound from a Zhou Wanfeng shot four minutes from the break to secure victory here.
China’s coach said she was aiming to set up a final against either Australia or Argentina, who will play Friday’s other semi-final.
“I was satisfied with the result and to get into the semi-finals but it was not my personal goal just to make the semi-finals as I have had a third place in a World Cup before,” said Kim Chang-back.
“I do not know if China can win the World Cup but the players are fit enough to play two more big matches.”
Australia has not beaten Argentina since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, with Argentina winning three and three matches drawn.
Australia’s coach said he was looking forward to taking on the Argentines with home advantage.
“Argentina is a quality team but their game today was flat too,” said David Bell. “We are looking forward to playing Argentina.”
Australia’s co-captain, Louise Dobson, said the home side would win. “We think we can beat Argentina,” she said.
England jumped from fifth to third place in pool B after beating Spain 3-0, earning the right to play-off for fifth to eighth place.
England needed three goals to get ahead of Spain on goal difference and scored them in style.
Helen Grant scored on five minutes, Jane Smith added a second midway through the second half and Anna Bennett chipped in a loose ball seconds from time.
In an earlier pool A match, Germany defeated Ukraine 5-2.
Pool A cellar-dwellers Russia held undefeated Argentina goalless for 54 minutes until top-scorer Agustina Garcia popped up to settle a meaningless encounter.
In pool B, The Netherlands beat the US 5-2 and South Africa demolished Ireland 6-0.
Japan held Australia to a 1-1 draw but had no influence on the pool standings with Australia staying in second place and Japan in fifth.
Thursday is a rest day for all teams during which the International Hockey Federation will announce the men’s and women’s Players of the Year.