SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia earned a hard-fought place in the final of the women's field hockey Champions Trophy here Saturday after a gritty 2-1 win over world and Olympic champions the Netherlands. Both teams needed to win to qualify for a meeting with Argentina in Sunday's final, with Australia striking first after Casey Eastham hammered home a loose ball in the circle in the opening minutes. The Netherlands' equaliser came from Maatje Paumen's conversion of their first penalty corner, high into the right of the net, a few minutes later. Paumen had four more penalty corner chances without success, frustrated by Australia's speedy Fiona Johnson, running down three of her drag flicks. Early in the second half Netherlands captain Janneke Schopman conceded a penalty stroke after she was adjudged to have made contact with Megan Rivers as she was about to shoot on goal. Schopman was unhappy with the umpire's decision, which led to a successful penalty conversion from Nicole Arrold, low inside the left post. "I only touched the ball and I did not touch the player at all, so from my point of view it cannot be a penalty stroke," Schopman said. After the match Dutch coach Herman Kruis praised Australia's high-tempo display. "Australia played with a lot of energy for the first 10 minutes and we had a little trouble with that," Kruis said. Australia coach Frank Murray was pleased with his team's performance. "You need your little bit of luck and we got that today," he added. Meanwhile a sub-par England succumbed 4-1 to China, and will face them again Sunday in the playoff for last place. "In the first half we had a lack of basic skills and an inability to hold onto the ball and the turnovers cost us," said England captain Kate Walsh. "In the second half we attacked more and got some penalty corners but we did not do enough," she added. Argentina played out a lacklustre nil-nil draw with Germany safe in the knowledge they had already qualified for the final. The Netherlands' result against Australia means that the Dutch will now play Germany for bronze. "Germany had chances to win and we were unlucky it was a nil-all result," said Germany captain Fanny Rinne. Argentina coach Carlos Retegui said he anticipated an aggressive, attacking match against Australia in Sunday's final. "It will be an attacking game from both teams with fast open hockey but it will also be a tough match for us to win," Retegui said. On Sunday China and England play for fifth/sixth place, Germany and Netherlands contest bronze and Australia meets Argentina in the final.