The men's Black Sticks' chances of progressing to the hockey medal rounds were dealt a blow when they were held to a draw by hosts Japan.
New Zealand forced six penalty corners and a stroke to Japan's two PCs, but conceded two spectacular but ultimately soft open-field goals that put a significant dent in their hopes of finishing in the top two of the pool and securing a more advantageous quarter-final opponent.
While they will be pleased they retained their composure when falling behind, they will no doubt feel they left two points on the field of the Oi Hockey Stadium.
New Zealand now have the full house of a win, loss and a draw from their first three matches and face the best team in the pool, Australia, on Thursday and Argentina the following day.
They are third, equal on four points with Argentina but holding a better goal difference, and behind India (six) and unbeaten Australia (nine).
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Given the one-sided nature of the transtasman hockey rivalry and the talent of Argentina, this was a crucial clash for New Zealand and it started in the worst possible fashion.
Koji Yamasaki cut in from the left and looked to be corralled effectively along the byline, yet he somehow beat Leon Hayward at the near post with an angle that could only be found on a protractor.
While annoying to fall behind, goals have not been a problem in New Zealand's matches to date – 12 in two matches – so a comeback was on the cards.
New Zealand started to assert themselves as the first quarter wore on and it was no surprise when Nick Wilson scored after a fortuitous rebound from a penalty corner struck by Sam Lane.
The second quarter was an exercise in frustration for the Black Sticks, who spurned three penalty corner opportunities – one a spectacular save on the line from the Kane Russell drag flick – and several chances from open play.
Stephen Jenness even managed to thread one through goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa's legs, only for him to somehow keep it out with his butt as he fell back. Jake Smith also missed a golden opportunity when one on one with the goalie.
If the second quarter was frustrating, the third was downright perplexing. New Zealand poured on the pressure but the ball would not go into the net. Russell's relationship with set-piece situations continued when he hit the inside of the post off a penalty stroke and the ball still stayed out.
When another attack broke down, the midfield and defence contrived to allow Kenta Tanaka to pick the ball up on his own 25m line and run close to unopposed into the circle and slot past Hayward. It wasn't the cleanest finish but the placement was inch perfect.
New Zealand equalised before the final break. After all the clean-cut chances there was some irony that the goal was again fortunate, taking a wicked deflection off Lane's corner attempt.
The final quarter was a see-sawing affair. The wet conditions and fatigue made control difficult but again both sides had chances, with Hayward saving twice to spare any further blushes.
Black Sticks 2 (Nick Wilson, Sam Lane)
Japan 2 (Koji Yamasaki, Kenta Tanaka)