Argentina beat reigning World, Olympic and European champions the Netherlands 3-1 to take their second women’s field hockey World Cup on Saturday.
A capacity crowd of 15,000 fans in blue and white were interspersed with two small patches of orange-clad Dutch supporters.
Argentina star Luciana Aymar earned her 300th cap for Argentina and Dutch skipper Janneke Schopman announced her retirement.
Carla Rebecchi put the hosts ahead three minutes into the match, following a pass from the left by Soledad Garcia to score into an empty goal from near the right post.
Noel Barrionuevo converted Argentina’s first penalty corner four minutes later, getting a deflection off the left glove of Netherlands goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek to let the Dutch know they were in a deep hole with work to do to extract themselves.
The Netherlands reacted by pressing Argentina high for very long periods, holding the hosts in their own half, gaining turnovers from Argentina’s outlet passes.
Argentina’s defense group of Barrionuevo, Silvina D’Elia, Claudia Burkart and goalkeeper Belen Succi were outstanding as they worked their team out of the Netherlands press with sharp, short passing interchanges.
Argentina crowded Netherlands in the circle preventing clear shots on goal by Kim Lammers, Marilyn Agliotti and Naomi van As.
The Dutch started the second half with a penalty corner and Succi confidently saved Maartje Paumen’s flick low to her left.
Paumen silenced the crowd when she converted the Netherlands second penalty corner high into the top of the net.
The Dutch continued their high press and Argentina broke out twice, forcing a passage into the Netherlands circle and Rebecchi was there to take a rebound off the right post to score for Argentina in the middle of the second half.
Dutch heads dropped, realizing the enormity of the task to come back from 3-1 down in a final and the crowd knew it, raising the noise level another notch and stamping their feet.
The Netherlands press yielded three more penalty corners in the second half but Succi was equal to the flicks by Paumen and Lammers.
In the final seconds of play the noise reached a crescendo and at the final whistle, Argentina players and coaching staff made a human pile on the pitch then jumped and shouted in unison.
Argentina coach Carlos Retegui said it was a close match.
“It was a very, very close match but Argentina took their chances and struck at the right moments by playing a very smart but exhausting, physical game and that is what makes us feel now that we are the best team in the world,” Retegui said.
Earlier, England beat Germany 2-0 to take the bronze medal, England’s first World Cup medal, adding to their bronze medal from the women’s Champions Trophy at Nottingham in July.
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