Defending champions the Netherlands beat New Zealand 3-1 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday to reach the women's Olympic hockey final.

New Zealand, who finished last in Beijing without winning a match, held the Dutch to a 2-2 draw after extra time having taken the lead twice.

However, skipper Maartje Paumen equalised both times through penalty corners for the Netherlands, who had not dropped a point in the tournament.

The Dutch skipper had netted 11 goals in Beijing but not scored before the semi-final in London.

New Zealand rattled the Dutch with an early lead from a penalty corner, skipper Kayla Sharland smacking the ball across the line, helped by a slight deflection off a Dutch stick.

Following Paumen's equaliser just before halftime, the Kiwis went back into the lead, splitting the Dutch defence with three long passes from the halfline that found Krystal Forgesson unmarked in the circle. Forgesson swept it past the Dutch goalkeeper's legs for a 2-1 lead. Again Paumen equalised.

After a goalless extra time - two lots of 7-1/2 minutes with a golden goal rule - the players had eight seconds to enter the circle and put the ball past the goalkeeper in the penalty shootout.