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Johannesburg - The South African men's hockey team were beaten 3-1 by Ireland in their final Pool B match at the Champions Challenge tournament in Quilmes, Argentina, on Tuesday night.
The defeat means South Africa, the most inexperienced team at the tournament and missing nine London 2012 Olympians, finish the preliminary round at the bottom of the log and will be taking on Pool A winners Malaysia in Thursday's 1.30pm quarterfinal.
Ireland's goalscorers were Andrew McConnell in the first half and John Jermyn and Conor Harte scored after the changeover, while South African forward Miguel da Graca's 13th-minute strike ensured the half-time score was 1-1.
South Africa started the tournament with a 4-4 draw against Japan after leading 4-1 with a quarter of the match to go, and then went down 2-1 to Argentina.
Ireland will play Poland in the quarterfinals, while the two other quarter-finalists to meet South Korea and Canada were to be determined after Tuesday night's late game between Argentina and Japan.
Poland caused a major upset in beating tournament favourites South Korea 5-4 and Malaysia kept their 100-percent win record intact with a 4-2 win over Canada.
Malaysia's head coach, Paul Revington, was the coach of the South African team at Athens 2004 that included current SA coach Gregg Clark. - Sapa