LONDON  - The Netherlands beat world champions Argentina 2-0 to retain their women 's Olympic hockey title Friday, raising the prospect of a Dutch double with their men set for a gold medal match against Germany.
The reigning champions took a long time to break down their nearest rivals, but eventually were a little more incisive in front of goal, thanks to their captain Maartje Paumen. Surprisingly Paumen had not scored at all in the earlier matches, saying that she was saving her goals for the final -- and she delivered magnificently.
The first came when Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel's shot was too fierce to control and Paumen pounced on the rebound with a predator's instinct, undeterred either by the angle or the fact that she was leaning backwards. The second was quite different -- a brilliant shot from the edge of the penalty circle which needed to find the top corner to avoid the goalkeeper's dive. It did just that.
It took fully 45 minutes to make the first breach in Argentina's defence, and 53 minutes to make the second. This meant that the Dutch knew, if they continued to pass the ball with control in a match with few openings, they would retain the Olympic title.
Great Britain's women equalled their best Olympic finish when they beat New Zealand 3-1 and earned a bronze medal -- something they last achieved 20 years ago in Barcelona. It did however it take a long time to break down the fiercely motivated Kiwis who were as close to a women 's Olympic hockey medal as they have ever been and already certain of their best Olympic finish.
In men’s hockey action on Saturday, Australia beat Britain 3-1 to win bronze, their sixth consecutive Olympic medal, having dominated the second half against the hosts.
Australia took the lead in the 17th minute when Jamie Dwyer, five-time world player of the year, set up Simon Orchard at the top of the D and he slammed the ball home. Britain keeper James Fair got his hand to the ball but could not stop it. Britain equalised from their only penalty corner of the half, Ashley Jackson slipping the ball to Iain Lewers who put it past the keeper. But the Australians dominated much of the second half and a penalty corner goal by Dwyer and one from free play by Kieran Govers - also set up by Dwyer - sealed victory.
Earlier, Belgium scored their first Olympic win over Spain since the Montreal Games 36 years ago as two goals from Tom Boon helped them to a 5-2 win and a final placing of fifth. The victory seemed likely from the second minute when Jerome Dekeyser dived in front of the goalkeeper to make a clever deflection from a short corner and put the Belgians in the lead. Thereafter they looked the livelier, faster running side, and already had a strong grip on the match by half-time, when they led 4-1.
Meanwhile, India's men's hockey team lost their sixth game out of six at the Olympics when a 3-2 defeat to South Africa condemned them to 12th and last place in the tournament. It was the first time that the eight-time champions had gone through an Olympics without winning a match. "We keep making the same mistakes all the time. We have to be aggressive. It was emotionally tough conceding the second goal. We have to be tough in the circle in future," said Sardar Singh, one of the team's star players. "We have to improve a lot. It's very disappointing. The whole team has been mentally affected."