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Spain beats New Zealand 3-1

New Zealand now needs to beat Australia on Tuesday to reach the World Cup semifinals for the first time.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2006 19:55 IST

Three different players scored on Monday to lift Spain past New Zealand 3-1 at the men's field hockey World Cup.

Spain, which needed to win to reach the semifinals, got a ninth-minute goal from David Alegre on its first attack. Ten minutes later, Santiago Freixa made it 2-0 off a penalty corner. The win in sweltering heat lifted the European champions to the top of Group A with eight points, with New Zealand at seven. After a barrage of chances by Spain, Eduard Tubau made it 3-0 with a slap shot with 30 seconds gone in the second half. New Zealand drag flicker Hayden Shaw was most dangerous against Spain, finally finishing a 40th-minute penalty corner with a shot under the roof of the net.

But New Zealand wasted a half-dozen chances after the break, losing for the first time at the tournament. Now it needs to beat Olympic champion Australia on Tuesday to reach the World Cup semifinals for the first time.

"Australia has been our big nemesis, but we have narrowed the gap a bit," New Zealand coach Kevin Towns said. "I think we're playing well enough to have a crack at it tomorrow." Towns said his team held Australia to 2-2 at the Commonwealth Games with seven minutes to play before losing 5-2. Later Monday, England faces the Netherlands in a Group A match with a semifinal berth on the line. India also plays South Korea and Pakistan faces Argentina.

First Published: Sep 11, 2006 19:53 IST