Netherlands women win Olympic hockey gold

Defending champions the Netherlands won women's hockey gold for the third time in their history with a convincing 2-0 victory against Argentina in London.

Second-half goals from Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel and skipper Maartje Paumen sealed it after the break.

The Dutch retain the title they won in Beijing four years ago, and in Los Angeles in 1984.

World champions Argentina had been looking for their first Olympic gold after taking silver at Sydney 2000.

Analysis

"The Dutch took a lot of criticism for their penalty corners but in the semi-finals and final, all four goals came from them. When the pressure told, the big-game players came out to play.

"When Argentina got silver in Sydney they were happy just to be there, they probably knew they couldn't beat a great Australian side, but this time Aymar was in floods of tears. Argentina came here to win, it's a bitter pill for them to swallow."

"We saved the best to last," said Paumen, who now has a record 14 goals in all Olympics. "It was like we were playing in Holland - the whole crowd was orange.

"Winning four years ago in Beijing was amazing, but this was just as good."

The defeat will be especially hard to take for Argentina captain Luciana Aymar, the seven-time world player of the year, who retires after the final.

She had hoped to celebrate her 35th birthday by winning the one prize that has eluded her in her final match.

However, her side rarely threatened as the Dutch dominated throughout and they will get the chance at a clean sweep when their men take on Germany in the men's final on Saturday.

After failing to capitalise on their domination in the first half, the Netherlands went ahead in the 45th minute when Argentina goalkeeper Florencia Mutio could only parry Paumen's shot into the path of Dirkse van den Heuvel, who smashed the rebound into the net.

Paumen then scored with a trademark drag-flick on a penalty corner soon after and the Dutch saw out the match comfortably.

"It was a very difficult match for us," said Aymar. "Netherlands are a really good team. We did everything possible to win, but it didn't work out.

"We were doing fine until they scored their first goal. It's a real shame.

"It's still a silver medal and overall we are very happy about how we've played in this tournament. The team are a sensational group of players and at least we have a silver medal."

She added: "I enjoyed myself a great deal. My objective was to enjoy it all as much as possible, so it went very well for me personally."

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