As draws go, New Zealand have got the best they could have hoped for when the World League quarter-finals are played in New Delhi tonight.
Having conceded six goals to world No1 Germany and five to England in losses, the Black Sticks have caught a break. They play 11th-ranked Argentina, four spots below them.
The reason for the quirk in the draw came through Argentina starting the tournament exceptionally well, beating the third-ranked Dutch 5-2, then No 5 Belgium 3-2. They came unstuck, 6-1, against second-ranked Australia early yesterday and while New Zealand will respect them, they'll also fancy grabbing an unexpected chance.
"It has worked out not too badly for us,'' striker Hugo Inglis said. "They were playing some good hockey earlier in the week so you can't think it's too favourable. But going into the tournament, for sure we wouldn't have minded coming up against Argentina.''
New Zealand have played decent hockey in patches, but Inglis said it was crucial to increase the length of those periods and trim the efficiency of the opposition. Set pieces must sharpen up too.
"Our penalty corners at both attacking and defensive ends haven't been good enough. It's something we've recognised for the quarter-final has to be better.''
Attacker Facundo Callioni has scored three times in the tournament for Argentina; New Zealand have managed just five in total over the three games.
Inglis, perhaps New Zealand's sharpest striker, got his first goal against England on Monday night and admits feeling a touch of rustiness early in the year. Still there's no shortage of incentive tonight.
"The team is really targeting trying to achieve medals at tournaments like this,'' he said. "Although we see this as a great tournament to build on, it's great to have an objective there for us to try to perform well.''
The crunch game in the last eight will be the clash between fierce rivals Germany and the Netherlands.
World League quarter-finals, New Delhi, tonight:
4-England v 5-Belgium, 1-Germany v 3-Netherlands, 11-Argentina v 7-New Zealand, 2-Australia v 10-India