Two strikes from Northlanders helped the Black Sticks shock world number three Argentina.

New Zealand were not expected to get close to beating Argentina in the quarter-finals of the FIH World Hockey League Final. However, no one told the players that.

Goals from co-captain Stacey Michelsen and Brooke Neal helped ward off their more fancied opponents who hammered the Black Sticks' net in the final quarter.

Michelsen was immensely proud of the effort from her team.


"For us it was about recognising that despite losing three times it definitely wasn't over," co-captain Stacey Michelsen said before a jubilant crowd.

"We saw Argentina last time came through pool play and hadn't won a game, but won their quarter-final and the tournament.

"All through the week we had been playing well in the midfield but just not converting, and it was good we didn't panic and we worked on fixing those small things.

It was Michelsen, who has been terrific through the tournament, who fittingly scored the winning goal last night.

She deflected an Ella Gunson drive from a penalty corner into the Argentine net, and that came a minute after the Black Sticks had equalised after giving away a goal in just the second minute.

Defender Neal scored from a penalty corner to shake the Argentines; Michelsen's strike then rocked the crowd and the South Americans.

They then held off a series of Argentina attacks through a largely one-sided final quarter, and although it wasn't always calm and clever defensive work, it had tons of heart and the Black Sticks got a fantastic reward.

The third quarter did it for New Zealand, during which they had eight shots on goal to three and the bulk of the possession and got their goals.

Neal paid tribute to the fans and the Black Sticks' experienced goalkeeper Sally Rutherford.

"It's pretty mind-blowing to be honest. The crowd was amazing and everyone in the team stepped up," she said.

"That was the main thing. You could see everyone wanted it and literally bled for it. It was a really tough win but we got there.

"To have her [Rutherford] back there and calm everyone down to make those key saves, she's unbeatable."

The Black Sticks will next face either the United States – who beat them 3-1 despite the New Zealanders having much the better of the contest statistically in their final pool game on Monday – or England, who were due to square off in their quarter-final last night.

Michelsen said she did not mind which team they would face.

"They're both really good sides and you don't have a preference at these tournaments because every team is so strong."