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Dutch crush Argentina to make final vs Australia

June 12, 2014

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Netherlands routed defending champion Argentina 4-0 and lined up a women’s final against Australia at the field hockey World Cup on Thursday.

Australia defeated the United States 3-1 in a penalty shootout after their semifinal finished 2-2 in regulation time.

The top-ranked Dutch, who have missed the final only twice in 30 years, will start as firm favourites in the sold-out Kyocera Stadium on Saturday, but Australia will be far from intimidated.

The Hockeyroos won their second and last world title in 1998, the last time the World Cup was in the Netherlands, and beat the Dutch in the final in Utrecht. Since then, they met again in the 2006 final in Madrid, where the Dutch won their record sixth title.

The Netherlands enveloped the Argentines from the opening whistle and scored quickly. Xan de Waard expertly lost her marker at the top of the circle and fired in a reverse stick shot in the 10th minute, then Maartje Paumen scored her seventh of the tournament from a penalty corner in the 16th.

The contest was as good as over in the 22nd when Kim Lammers smacked in an air ball. She scored the last goal in the last minute, finishing a brilliant team move.

Argentina superstar Luciana Aymar, the eight-time world player of the year, played after missing the last two games to rest a right hamstring injury. But her fitness was limited, and the Argentines hardly jelled. She will retire after meeting the U.S. in the third-place playoff.

American striker Kelsey Kolojejchick’s second equalizer two minutes from the end of regulation time forced their semifinal with Australia to a shootout. Only Kolojejchick, America’s third shooter, scored, while Australia missed its first attempt but made the next three. Jodie Kenny scored the clincher for Australia to win.

Australia goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, who was aggressive in coming out of the goal and pushing the U.S. shooters back, knocked the ball away from Kolojejchick on her penalty, but was unable to get a stick on it. She still stopped three other penalty attempts.

“We practice these, and I really enjoy doing them,” Lynch said. “I take it as a positive if we go to one-on-ones.” But she said Australia made the match tougher than it needed to be by not winning during regulation play.

“We gave it all we’ve got, they just had a little more than we did,” Kolojejchick said.

In the men’s semifinals on Friday, the Netherlands play England, and Australia meets Argentina.

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