The women's Black Sticks will need to dig deep to make the World Cup quarter-finals after a 1-1 draw with Australia in London yesterday.

They now face world No 3 Argentina tomorrow morning in an elimination game, the winner, by a quirk of the draw, to face the Aussies for a semifinal spot.

The result was fair on the run of play but Australia progress directly to the last eight courtesy of finishing top of a tight four-team group.

New Zealand slipped up when losing 2-1 to Japan in their second pool D game earlier in the week.


The last time world No 4 New Zealand faced Argentina, they lost their series in Buenos Aires 4-1 in February. However, they did beat them in the quarter-finals of the World League Final in Auckland late last year.

"We're confident with every game and we'll prepare well and just come out and play our game and do things well," coach Mark Hager said.

"It was a typical Aussie-New Zealand battle. Both teams had chances to win, probably just our inability in front of goal has hurt us a bit, which is disappointing."

Olivia Merry put New Zealand ahead just before the end of quarter time with a shot from a tight angle - her third of the tournament - after good pressure from player of the match Kelsey Smith.

Australia equalised early in the second quarter through Emily Smith, after the Black Sticks slipped up in defence.

Both teams created chances and Sam Harrison had the ball in the Australian goal just before halftime only for it to be disallowed after an Australian referral, the ball having come from the back of her stick.

A neutral would have rated it a good watch - captain Stacey Michelsen's weaving runs constantly troubled the Australian defence - but New Zealand would have topped the group and given themselves another day off had they won or beaten the Japanese. However, they're not for looking back, said outstanding defender Brooke Neal, one of New Zealand's best yesterday.

"You can look in the past but we're a team who look forward, and to be honest, we have to win every game from now on anyway, so it means doing our homework and making sure we're clinical," Neal said.