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Netherlands crash Argentina captain Aymar's party by taking gold

Updated: Saturday, 11 Aug 2012 09:44 | Comments

The Netherlands celebrate after scoring their second goal
The Netherlands celebrate after scoring their second goal

Champions Netherlands successfully defended their title to spoil Argentina captain Luciana Aymar's farewell to international hockey on her 35th birthday.

Olympic gold is the only medal the South American playmaker and seven-time world player of the year has not won and she admitted victory in the final would give her "eternal glory".

However, arguably the greatest player in the history of the women's game bowed out having won two silvers and two bronzes in her four Olympic appearances.

A cagey game was settled midway through the second half as world number ones Netherlands scored two penalty corner goals in relatively quick succession from Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel and captain Maartje Paumen.

Even the great Aymar could not inspire world champions Argentina into a fightback as the Netherlands collected the third Olympic gold medal in their history.

Even the great Aymar could not inspire world champions Argentina into a fightback as the Netherlands collected the third Olympic gold medal in their history.

Aymar, so keen to sign off with the gold medal that had eluded her, tested Joyce Sombroek with an angled reverse-stick shot midway through the first half but the Holland goalkeeper was up to the task.

Argentina suffered a blow 10 minutes before the interval when Ellen Hoog caught Mariela Scarone in the face with her stick as she crossed from the left.

A big cut opened up under the 25-year-old's left eye and she departed from the field with a towel clamped to her face trying to stem the considerable amount of blood pouring from the wound, although she did return after the break.

In first-half overtime Paumen's flick from a penalty corner was palmed away to safety by goalkeeper Florencia Mutio.

The Holland captain's next penalty corner, 10 minutes into the second half, was much more productive as Mutio could only half-stop the flick and Dirkse van den Heuvel smashed home the rebound.

Paumen should have made it 2-0 when she exchanged passes with Maartje Goderie at the next corner only to find the goalkeeper with her shot, but she made no mistake with her next set-piece, powering an unstoppable flick just under the crossbar.

From that point the pressure was all created by Holland as Argentina, the world number two side, struggled to carve out chances. The Dutch midfield successfully continued their practice of restricting the influence of Aymar as they had done throughout the game.

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