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Rediff.com  » Sports » Win over NZ a morale booster ahead of Canada match: Lombi

Win over NZ a morale booster ahead of Canada match: Lombi

March 08, 2010 08:55 IST

High on confidence after their first win in the hockey World Cup, Argentina coach Pablo Lombi on Sunday said the victory would boost his team's morale ahead of the last pool A match against traditional rivals Canada, who has always been a thorn in the flesh for his side.

Argentina pipped New Zealand 1-0 in a Pool match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here and jeopardised the Black Sticks chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Lombi said the Argentines would hope to carry on the momentum on March 9 against Canada, who defeated them in the Pan American Championship, the Pan American Games as well as the Champions Challenge tournament in Salta last year.

"I am very happy with our performance today. We played well and have secured our first three points in the tournament. Finally we have a win under our belt," Lombi said.

"Our focus now would be on Canada and we will try our best to win against them because Argentina-Canada share great rivalry in the field of hockey," he said.

Lombi also said the lowly Argentines came into the tournament eyeing a top-eight finish and victory against Canada on Tuesday would definitely help them in achieving their target.

"We came here with an expectation to finish in the first eight. We knew before this match that we had three tough games against the Netherlands, Germany and Korea," Lombi said.

"It's a World Cup and every team is here to win," Lombi said.

His sentiments were echoed by captain Damian Matias Vila, who said the three points against New Zealand would do world of good for the side ahead of the Canada encounter.

"The win was very important for us. We played very well in the last two matches. We would try to maintain the same momentum against Canada," Vila said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Dean Couzins was a disappointed man after the shocking defeat that virtually dashed their semi-final hopes.

"We are very disappointed today. It was a very poor performance from us but we can't sit on it. We have to get over it and prepare our best for the next match against Germany," Couzins said.

"A win tonight would have held us in good position for a semi-final place," he added.

The Black Sticks, who have six points in their kitty from four matches, now face double defending champions Germany in their last match on March 9.

A win against the Germans alone won't be sufficient for them to secure a place in the last-four stage as their fate also rests on results of the other games of the pool.

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