Perspiration wasn't the problem for the Black Sticks in their final pool game at the world hockey league final at North Harbour tonight - inspiration in front of goal was.

The United States beat New Zealand 3-1 to ensure the hosts would finish bottom of the pool, and consign them to a quarter-final at the Sentinel Homes-sponsored tournament against either of the two unbeaten pool B teams, world No 3 Argentina or No 6 Germany.

The statistics all favoured fifth-ranked New Zealand. They outscored the No 7-ranked US 18-5 on shots, 65-35 percent possession in the opposition half, 29-6 on circle entries. Given the outcome that makes weird reading. Add in one successful penalty corner in seven attempts and a picture starts to emerge.

"I'm definitely getting sick of saying it but we're not clinical enough in the attacking circle," Black Sticks co-captain Stacey Michelsen said.


"We need to get better at that because we are creating chances but just can't put them away."

Jill Wittner gave the US a lead, much against the run of play and off a fortuitously-awarded penalty corner, deflecting a drive over keeper Grace O'Hanlon.

Midfielder Ella Gunson equalised, niftily deflecting a strong Olivia Merry drive high into the US net before halftime.

However Taylor West scored twice in the second half, once with a penalty stroke after Frances Davies bundled an attacker over, and once with a reverse stick shot which bobbled twice before crossing the line.

In the early game, the world No 1 team the Netherlands easily completed a 100 percent record in pool play with a 3-0 win over South Korea.

The Dutch had 25 circle entries to three by the world No 9 Koreans and a 19-1 shot advantage.

The goals came from Margot van Geffen from a penalty corner just before halftime, the in-form Maartje Krekelaar in the 41st minute and another penalty corner strike from Caia van Maasakker.

"It's perfect and we're happy," van Maasakker said of their pool play form.

So a day off today before the quarter-finals perhaps?

"No I think we will go training. I like to train."

In tomorrow's final pool B matches, Germany play Argentina, both in good form with two-from-two records, and England face China. There are two quarer-finals on each of Wednesday and Thursday.