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Dutch defend hockey title
By Foster Niumata
07:42 AEST Sat Aug 11 2012

The Netherlands retained their women's Olympic field hockey title by controlling the second half and beating world champion Argentina 2-0 at Riverbank Arena on Friday.

The Dutch scored off two penalty corners after the break to join Australia as the only three-time Olympic champions.

At the final whistle, the Dutch celebrated with a mass hug in their circle. Eight of the players earned their second straight gold medal.

"I can hardly believe it," one of the eight, midfielder Eva de Goede said. "I had a good feeling from the beginning and we played such a good first half, and the second half they (Argentina) were absolutely nowhere."

Winners of all seven of their games, the Dutch gave their men's team extra incentive to record their first-ever Olympic double when they front up against Germany in Saturday's final.

The women's final between the world's best two teams was riveting for being tight rather than breathtaking until Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel scored from a rebound off de Goede's corner in the 40th minute.

"That goal just had to be scored," Dirkse van den Heuvel said. "We had been better than (Argentina) for the entire game and if you take too long scoring, it only gets more and more difficult, so it just had to happen."

The Dutch turned rampant, and after captain Maartje Paumen had a corner saved in the 53rd for the second time, the specialist didn't miss her next chance a minute later.

Paumen's penalty corner stuttered throughout the tournament, but came good when it mattered. She scored two in the semi-finals and her final goal brought her Olympic tally overall to a record 14.

Argentina captain Luciana Aymar lived up to her reputation as the best player in the game, but couldn't celebrate her 35th birthday by leading her team to victory in her last match before retirement.

The Dutch have been the bane of Argentina at the Olympics. Las Leonas, the Lionesses, lost to the Netherlands in the 2004 and 2008 semi-finals and finished with bronze medals, to go with their silver in 2000. That left Aymar as the first woman to win four hockey medals.

Earlier Friday, hosts Great Britain won the bronze by beating New Zealand 3-1.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
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Closing ceremony
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