Hosts Argentina secure top spot with England hockey win

ROSARIO (Reuters) - Hosts Argentina, keeping their goal intact for the fourth successive match, beat England 2-0 Monday to win Pool B at the women's hockey World Cup.

With five wins and just two goals conceded in their opener against South Africa, Argentina secured a semi-final against the second-placed team in Pool A, almost certainly Germany or Australia.

Argentina's win avenged a defeat by England in Nottingham in July, the opening match of the Champions Trophy which Argentina recovered to win.

England, second in their pool and unbeaten until Monday, are set to face favorites Netherlands in the other semi-final.

The Dutch are three points clear at the top of Pool A with a 20-6 goals record before Tuesday's final day of the round-robin phase when they meet Japan.

Although Germany and Australia, both on nine points, could still mathematically overhaul the Dutch, they are more likely to be vying for second place in the group. Germany have a superior goal difference of one.

In high scoring games involving Pool B teams with no chance of a place in the semi-finals, Olympic silver medalists China crushed Spain 6-0 and South Korea overcame South Africa 5-3.

China, who began the tournament with an upset defeat by South Korea, found better form to crush the Spanish with four penalty corner goals from Ma Yibo, her first a superb shot into the top corner.

South Korea, level 1-1 at halftime, fell 3-1 behind early in the second half conceding two goals in two minutes to South Africas Cindy Botha.

(Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; editing by Nick Mulvenney)