Argentina takes bronze medal

Updated: August 26, 2004, 5:58 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- In front of an orange sea of 7,000 mostly Dutch fans, Germany upset the Netherlands 2-1 on Thursday to claim its first women's Olympic field hockey gold medal.

Germany overcame the odds and the tournament's top-scorers to collect its first medal in the sport since winning silver in 1992 in Barcelona.

"I still don't realize what we've done,'' German forward Silke Mueller said. "We never imagined we'd get so far.''

After Germany's Anke Kuehn opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a penalty corner, Franziska Gude scored 14 minutes later to make it 2-0. It was a key lead with the Netherlands coming back to within one when Maartje Scheepstra scored on a penalty corner in the 38th minute.

The Dutch women, the European champions, had been seeking their first gold in 20 years, after claiming bronze in Sydney and Atlanta.

"We are angry with ourselves,'' said Dutch defender Ageeth Boomgaardt. "We came so close to the gold medal but we got scared. We had many opportunities but we were afraid in the last effort to score.''

It marked the first time Germany reached the medal playoff since 1992. Two of Germany's players, Heike Laezsch and Nadine Ernstring-Krienke, were on the team that won silver in Barcelona.

"I can't believe we've won,'' Laezsch said. "It's great to win having beaten such a strong team like the Netherlands. Now we are the best.''

Earlier, Luciana Paula Aymar scored with less than a minute remaining to lift Argentina to a 1-0 victory over China in the bronze medal match.

It marked a second straight Olympic medal for the Argentine women, who won silver in Sydney.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press