Govers snatches WC draw for Kookaburras

With quick-thinking and sharp-shooting Blake Govers has shrugged off a lingering calf injury to save Australia from a shock defeat to Argentina at the Hockey World Cup.

With the Kookaburras trailing 3-2 and staring down the barrel of a defeat that would have sent them into an extra round, the mullet-and-moustachioed striker seized on an error by Argentine No.5 Facundo Zarate.

He then took a quick free hit to himself and buried a fierce shot low into the corner to ensure a split of the points.

The world No.1-ranked team had twice led the South Americans in Bhubaneswar, but went behind with 12 minutes to go and there were just two minutes remaining when Govers struck.

Defeat on Monday would have almost certainly meant they went into the crossover round rather than straight into the quarter-finals as group winners.

With 12 minutes to go Martin Ferreiro twisted away from veteran co-captain Eddie Ockenden on the edge of the D before whipping a backstick shot past Andrew Charter to put Argentina ahead.

Charter was withdrawn in the closing minutes as Australia went without a keeper in their quest for a leveller.

It paid off, but former World Cup winning coach Ric Charlesworth, working as a commentator, said the match was 'a wake up call' Australia might have needed.

"It was not up to our standard ... and especially disappointing after such a clinical display against France," Charter said.

"But to come back like that - pull the keeper and get the goal - it's huge for our self belief. They're tough situations so to get a draw lines us up well for the rest of the round."

Colin Batch's side had thrashed France 8-0 in their opening match but found the 2016 Olympic champions tougher opposition in a gripping end-to-end encounter.

Jeremy Hayward, who scored a hat-trick of penalty corners against the French, broke the deadlock after ten minutes by converting another, won by Tim Brand.

The goal was perhaps against the run of play but Australia nearly doubled their advantage three minutes later.

Nathan Ephraums hit the post and Lachlan Sharp's goal-bound follow-up was diverted by a foot less than a yard out. However, there was no television referral for what would have been a penalty stroke.

World No.7 Argentina levelled four minutes into the second quarter through Tomas Domene before Daniel Beale, reacting first after the ball had deflected onto the post, scored on the reverse stick.

Argentina, though, equalised again when Dutch-based Maico Casella neatly turned in Lucas Toscani's pass from close range.

It was the first time Australia had conceded three goals in a World Cup since a Charlesworth-coached team lost 3-2 to England in 2010. They went on to win the competition.

Australia next face world No.14 South Africa in Rourkela on Friday (6.30pm AEDT).

South Africa are bottom of the group having followed a 1-0 opening defeat against Argentina with a 2-1 loss to France.