Johannesburg: England and Argentina moved closer to a Women's Hockey World League tournament final showdown in Johannesburg with contrasting last-eight victories on Tuesday.
An early Giselle Ansley penalty-stroke goal set up the English for a comfortable 4-1 win over India at the University of the Witwatersrand astro turf stadium.
Argentina built a two-goal advantage en route to a 2-1 victory over gritty Ireland after a tense finish in which the losers lost green-carded captain Kathryn Mullan.
Germany edged wasteful hosts South Africa 1-0 and the United States overcame Japan by the same scoreline in the other quarter-finals.
Argentina face Germany and England meet the United States in the semi-finals Thursday and are favoured to contest the title decider three days later.
The semi-finalists are also guaranteed places at the 2018 Women's Hockey World Cup and will be joined by the nations finishing fifth and sixth in Johannesburg.
England captain Alex Danson was thrilled by the triumph over the Indians, who started poorly but had a good second quarter.
"A fantastic performance," was her summary of the match. "We were strong at the back, tight in midfield and counterattacked speedily.
"We played as a team against a very skilful Indian team and all of us are delighted to be through to the semi-finals."
Ansley and Danson gave the team ranked second in the world behind the Netherlands a 2-0 half-time lead that rare scorer Susannah Townsend extended in the third quarter.
Gurjit Kaur scored off a late penalty corner only for Hannah Martin to grab another goal for the victors in the final minute.
Argentina coach Agustin Corradini said he was "happy and proud" after the victory over the Irish, who were clearly second best on the day but never stopped trying.
"I am building a new team and the girls are growing individually and collectively with each match," he said.
Delfina Merino and Julia Gomes scored for the team ranked third in the world before Roisin Upton halved the deficit off a 43rd-minute penalty corner.
Camilla Nobis struck just before half-time to earn Germany a 1-0 victory over South Africa, who had sufficient chances to win.
Candice Martin, the two-goal heroine of a shock win against the United States at the weekend, was the chief culprit as she wasted several opportunities.
Nobis handed the host nation a lesson in clinical finishing by receiving the ball after a turnover on the edge of the "D", turning and slamming the ball into the net.
"Only the result mattered tonight," said Germany coach Jamilon Mulders. "It was our best performance of this tournament and our team deserve respect."
Young Erin Matson starred as the United States recovered from successive group defeats to edge Japan 1-0 through a third-quarter Michelle Vittese goal.
Published Date: Jul 19, 2017 15:46 PM | Updated Date: Jul 19, 2017 15:46 PM