Netherlands to take on Argentina in women's hockey final

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London, Aug 9: Defending champions, the Netherlands defeated New Zealand in the penalty shoot-outs on Wednesday to make their third consecutive finals at the Olympics. They will take on Argentina, ranked 2 in the world, who made their second Olympic final after defeating the hosts, Great Britain, 2-1 in the other semifinal. The Las Leonas will look for the maiden gold and beating the Netherlands to achieve the feat will be all the more sweet for it was the Dutch which had stopped them form advancing to the finals in the last two Games.

In the first semifinal, the Dutch women, who are on a roll in this Olympics, came back twice at the game after trailing the Kiwis. Kayla Sharland and Krystal Forgesson scored for New Zealand in the 7th and 49th minutes while Maartje Paumen scored both for the Dutch at the 32nd and 53rd minute.

Neither sides could not break the deadlock at the extra time and the game spilled over into the penalty shoot-outs with the scores ties 2-2. The teams were tied 1-1 after two shots but Gemma Flynn missed the crucial third shot for the Kiwis while Eva de Goede scored for the Dutch. Anita Punt missed the next chance and with just one shot left, Ellen Hoog's spot on shot saw the Dutch through. Only Stacey Michelson scored for the Black Sticks in the 1-3 loss in the penalty shoot-outs. New Zealand's Katie Glynn suffered a serious injury in her head during the match but yet played the match with bandage on.

In the second semifinal, the Argentines paid a perfect tribute to the legendary Luciana Aymar, who will be playing in her final match against the Dutch in the final. Incidentally, Friday is also Aymar's birthday and she will spare no effort to make it the best in her life. Argentina, current World Cup and Champions Trophy holders, scored the first goal against Great Britain at the 6th minute through Noel Barrioneuvo while Carla Rebecchi doubled the lead at the 31st minute.

Great Britain came back strong in the second half but could score only one when Alex Danson made up for a missed chance by Helen Richardson. Argentina had won the silver last time they played an Olympic final in 2000. They had lost to Australia 1-3 in that occasion. Great Britain will play New Zealand and try to match their feat in the 1992 Barcelona Games when they won the silver by defeating Korea.

In the two classification matches played during the day, Germany drubbed Korea 4-1 to finish seventh while Japan beat South Africa 2-1 to finish ninth in the overall standing at the London Games. Natascha Keller, the veteran German player, played her 425th and last match against the Koreans and played a brilliant role in her side's win on Wednesday. Lisa Hahn, Fanny Rinne and Marie Mavers scored for the Germans while Cheon Seul-Ki scored the only Korean goal. In the other match, Ai Murakami scored the two goals for the Sakuras and Lisa-Marie Deetlefs netted the South African goal. Murakami's winning goal came at the 80th minute. South Africa, however, finished a place better than their 2008 performance.

See Standings: Women's, Men's

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