ATLANTA (AP) _ The U.S. men will have to wait at least four more years to win an Olympic field hockey game.

The United States lost 4-1 to Malaysia today, leaving the Americans 0-7 in these games and 0-26-4 in their Olympic history.

The victory was the first of the tournament for Malaysia (1-4-2). The U.S. team, plagued by a punchless offense throughout the tournament, scored only four goals in finishing last in the 12-team field.

``We turned the corner this year, but we need to expose ourselves to a few more big tournaments,'' coach Jon Clark said.

The United States controlled the ball through most of the first half, but missed five shots on goal. Lim Chiow Chuan snapped the scoreless tie by scoring on a penalty stroke with 1:09 remaining.

``We could have probably won the match in the first 20 minutes if we had taken some chances,'' Clark said. ``We turned the screws on the other side, but came away with nothing. We had four or five clear shots and missed them.''

That sapped the Americans' momentum and Malaysia took control early in the second half, scoring twice in the first nine minutes.

``It's a sign of the level we're playing at,'' Clark said. ``We make mistakes and seem to get punished with a goal.''

Malaysia stretched the lead to 2-0 three minutes into the second half on a penalty corner goal by Minawan Nawawi, and sealed another U.S. defeat with another goal from Lim with 26:31 left.

Nick Butcher of Simi Valley, Calif., averted a shutout by scoring with 2:48 left in the game, which was played in a steady drizzle.

The U.S. team's next major tournament will be a World Cup qualifying tournament in Italy in October.

``We have the basis for a team that's going to rise itself up,'' Clark said. ``If we reward ourselves in October, you could say we've definitely gotten ourselves out of division three in international hockey.''

Spain and the Netherlands advanced to the gold medal game with victories Wednesday. Spain handed Australia its first loss, 2-1, on a penalty stroke conversion by Juan Escarre in the 53rd minute. The Netherlands defeated Germany 3-1 on three goals by Taco van den Honert.

Australia will play Germany for the bronze in a rematch of the 1992 gold-medal game, which the Germans won.

In other games Wednesday, Argentina won a 3-0 shootout with Malaysia after they tied 4-4 in regulation; Pakistan beat Britain 2-1; and South Korea won a 5-3 shootout with India after a 3-3 regulation tie.