LONDON, England (AFP) — Reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands defeated China 1-0 yesterday in a repeat of the 2008 women's hockey final to bolster their strong position at the London Games with a third straight win.
The Dutch lead Pool A on a maximum nine points, with Great Britain second with six points from two matches, ahead of the hosts' meeting with Belgium due later yesterday.
Maartje Goderie scored the match winner for Netherlands in the 10th with a shot just inside the far post. This was the first goal conceded by China in three games.
Dutch captain Maartje Paumen, a member of the gold medal-winning team that triumphed in Beijing four years ago, said: "This was a new game and had several new players.
"China are a good side, but we pressed and created chances. I remember we pressed hard in the 2008 final also."
Max Caldas, coach of The Netherlands team, added: "We did not score many goals, but I am happy with three victories."
China now have four points from three outings.
Earlier, Australia moved back into contention for a semi-final place with a hard fought 1-0 win over United States in Pool B.
Australia scored just four minutes after their goalkeeper had saved a USA penalty stroke.
Anna Flanagan netted in the 33rd minute with the 20-year-old producing a strong flick at a penalty corner.
Lauren Crandall, the United States' experienced captain, took her team's 29th minute penalty. It was a good flick, but Australian goalkeeper Toni Cronk produced an even better save.
Adam Commens, the Australian coach, praised Cronk for "a number of outstanding saves today."
Also posting their second win in three Pool B matches were Germany, who defeated South Africa 2-0 to stay in the contest for a semi-final spot.
Germany took their points tally to six from three outings with Marie Mavers deflecting in a diagonal pass in the 25th minute and captain Fanie Rinne shooting home on a penalty corner in the 44th.
South Korea won the early morning game against Japan 1-0 to get off the bottom of the Pool A table.
Their winning goal came from a corner conversion by Cheong Seul Ki in the 42nd minute.
South Korea captain Lee Seon Ok said: "Cheong scored in the upper left corner. She shot high because the Japanese goalkeeper is quite short."