Argentina created history by qualifying for the semifinals of the Hockey World Cup by beating South Africa 5-1 in their last group game at The Hague on Tuesday, while Germany crashed out even after beating South Korea 6-1 at the Kyocera Stadium.
Argentina displayed good skills and took the lead in the 20th minute when Joaquin Menini slammed the ball into the net. Gonzalo Peilllat doubled the score three minutes later and Lucas Vila added the third in the 49th minute with a reverse-stick shot.
The South Americans were reduced to nine-men for several minutes when Juan Lopez, Matias Paredes and Manuel Brunet were shown yellow cards in quick succession. South Africa pressed hard to take the advantage, but the Argentine defence held firm to keep them at bay.
Clinton Panther scored a goal for South Africa in the 57th minute to cut the deficit, but Argentina responded with two more goals and sealed the tie. Peillat scored his second and tenth goal of the tournament while a few minutes later Vila completed a brace.
"We have made history, for the first time in our history we are in the semifinals," Argentina's Agustin Mazzilli said. "We know that people back home are watching and supporting us and we are determined to do well for all of them.
"Our team is successful because we have a good defence and Gonzalo is exceptional at the corners. We must make sure that we are disciplined and don't lose players to cards. We will not be able to afford to go to nine men against Australia."
Argentina finished as the runners up in Pool B behind Netherlands with 12 points and they will face the defending champions Australia in the semis.
Meanwhile, Olympic champions Germany ended their group campaign with a dominating 6-1 win over South Korea. However, they failed to qualify for the semis because of Argentina's triumph over South Africa earlier in the day.
The Germans finished third behind the Argentines and will meet Belgium in a fifth-place playoff match. Out of the semifinals reckoning, Germany struggled to find their rhythm early on, but managed to break the deadlock in the 19th minute through Christopher Wesley.
Benedikt Fuerk doubled the lead two minutes later and Martin Zwicker scored the third before halftime. Nam Hyunwoo reduced the lead for Korea in the 51st minute, but Germany fired three more goals through Florian Fuchs, Oliver Korn and Christopher Zell to seal the victory.
"I was quite pleased with the performance of the boys as right before the game it was quite clear that we would miss out on the semis, which is a huge disappointment," Germany's coach Markus Weise said. "To go out and perform like that is a really good achievement."
In another Pool B match, New Zealand held hosts Netherlands to a 1-1 draw to book a seventh-place playoff match with Spain. Valentin Verga scored for the Netherlands in the eighth minute, while Simon Child scored the equaliser in the 63rd minute.