Friday, 10 August 2012

A Dutch Repeat

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 London Olympic women's field hockey champions are the Netherlands! The Netherlands dispatched the Argentinian squad earlier today by a 2-0 score to win the tournament with a perfect 7-0-0 record. The Dutch women successfully defended the gold medal they won in Beijing, and now look ahead to Rio de Janeiro where they could possibly three-peat as the Olympic champions!

The gold medal game saw it's first goal scored by 25 year-old Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel on a penalty corner at 44:42 of the match. Another penalty corner saw the Dutch jump out to their 2-0 lead when captain Maartje Paumen converted the attempt. Paumen's goal put the pressure on Argentina as she scored at the 53:21 mark of the game. With just over 16 minutes to play, the Dutch defence put up a wall, giving goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek - a medical student in the Netherlands - easy looks to preserve the shutout. After the final whistle, the Dutch women claimed their third gold medal in their Olympic history! Congratulations, Netherlands!

Argentina captured the silver medal with their loss in the final, but the Argentinian women showed that their second-overall world ranking was not a fluke. 27 year-old Carla Rebecchi had a great tournament as she notched four goals while veteran Luciana Aymar scored three penalty corner goals for Argentina to lead the squad as she competed in her fourth Olympic Games. While they missed out on gold, the silver medals won by Argentina are a great accomplishment. Congratulations, Argentina!

In the bronze medal match, Great Britain squared off against New Zealand. Alex Danson notched the first goal of the game for Great Britain after she converted a penalty corner at 44:51. Great Britain increased their lead when Crista Cullen hammered a penalty corner home at 58:33, and time became an enemy for New Zealand. Sarah Thomas added a third goal off a penalty corner at 62:37, and it was almost academic at that point. New Zealand did break Elizabeth Storry's shutout when Stacey Michelsen converted a penalty corner at the 67:27 mark, but it was all but over at that point. At the final whistle, the British women captured the bronze medal with a 3-1 victory over New Zealand! Congratulations, Great Britain!

It should be noted that Crista Cullen and Alex Danson of Great Britain led the tournament in scoring with five goals apiece. There were only five penalty strokes that resulted in goals, and none of the four teams in the medal rounds recorded a penalty stroke goal. All five of Crista Cullen's goals came courtesy of penalty corners, making her the most lethal player when given the advantage.

There are your medalists from the women's field hockey event at the 2012 London Olympics. Tomorrow, we'll run down the men's medalists as the 2012 Olympiad nears its closing.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the field!

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