World number one and number two teams will meet for the London Olympics Gold Medal at Riverbank Arena in Olympics Park, London on August 10 at 20:00BST. Defending champions and world number one Netherlands defeated world number seven New Zealand on penalty shoot-out (3-1) after finishing 2-2 in regulation time and none of the teams scored extra time. While world champions Argentina defeated the hosts Great Britain (2-1) to reach the final and hope to add the eluding Gold in their collection of Silver and Bronze Medals.
Record seven times FIH World Player of Year Luciana AYMAR is sure of to be the first woman hockey player to win 4 Olympics medals, though she will be targeting the yellow metal this time. Led by experienced AYMAR, athletic and confident world champions Argentina scored 2 goals in the first half and did some quality defending in the second half to defeat Great Britain (2-1).
Alex DANSON’s late strike for Great Britain was not enough to push world champions into extra time. Noel BARRIONUEVO scored with a low flick on Penalty Corner earned by Luciana AYMAR in the 5th minute. Towards the end of first half, Luciana AYMAR ran past a number of tacklers on left sideline before passing ball to Carla REBECCHI, who whizzed past the last defender, maneuvered in little space to send the ball home, after colliding with GB Goalie Beth STORRY. In the second half, athletic and hard working Argentina closed down the hosts on most of the pitch, and did not let the GB players create space. Calm in their own danger zone and hard working Argentina kept the hosts away to make the things difficult for their opponents.
In the first Semi Final, Defending champions continued their winning streak by defeating the world number seven New Zealand after a tough match which was decided in the penalty shoot-outs. The Black Sticks played their heart out against world number one to take lead twice, but that was not enough to overcome the Dutch Women.
The Dutch Goal Keeper Joyce SOMBROEK defended 3 penalties in shoot out competition, while her team-mates van AS Naomi, de GOEDE Eva and HOOG Ellen found the target beating Black Sticks Goalie Bianca RUSSEL to win the game for their side. For Black Sticks, only Stacey MICHELSEN could beat Joyce SOMBROEK, while their Captain Kayla SHARLAND, Gemma FLYNN and Anita PUNT could not. The Dutch skipper Maartje PAUMEN and van GEFFEN Margot were not able to get past Bianca RUSSEL.
The world number seven New Zealand were keen to win in their 1st semi-final and took lead twice, but every time the Dutch Captain Maartje PAUMEN equalized to take the match to extra time. New Zealand’s first goal came on PC in 7th minute, when their captain Kayla SHARLAND found the right bottom corner of the post with a sweep shot. PAUMEN equalized in 32nd minute, when looped the ball over Bianca RUSSEL into the nets in an indirect PC conversion.
Then in 2nd half, unmarked Krystal FORGESSON sent the ball home through a narrow gap between SOMBROEK’s kickers and near post in 49th minute to earn lead once again for her side and pressed hard to increase the lead. Four minutes later, PAUMEN was on target once again, this time with a direct flick in the roof of the post to equalize once again. Both the teams tried to score in the next 15 minutes of regular time, but score remained locked to take the match into extra time. None of the team could score in extra time, during which PAUMEN missed the target narrowly on a PC and match was decided in penalty shoot-out competition, which Netherlands won 3-1.
In two other classification matches, Japan defeated South Africa 2-1 on Golden Goal, while Germany registered a convincing win over Korea (4-1) to finish 9th and 7th respectively.