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Dutch beat U.S. to win women's water polo gold
August 21, 2008 18:08 IST
Last Updated: August 21, 2008 18:33 IST
The Netherlands won the gold medal in the women's water polo competition on Thursday, scoring a goal in the final minute to beat the United States 9-8.
Danielle de Bruijn masterminded the unexpected victory with a seven-goal haul that handed the Dutch their first Olympic [Images] title in the event.
Women's water polo was introduced to the Games at Sydney in 2000.
"Danielle is a very experienced player and she has...a talent and today we have seen it all," said Dutch coach Robin van Galen. "It is marvellous to play a match like this in the final."
The unheralded Dutch side raced to a four-goal lead within the first four minutes of the encounter, stunning the U.S. who were one of the tournament favourites.
"They came out on fire," said U.S. coach Guy Baker. "We never quite got over the hump. We pulled even with them, but we could never quite pull ahead," he added.
The entire Dutch coaching team leapt fully dressed into the pool to celebrate the win, while many of the American players slipped back to the changing rooms in tears.
Australia [Images] took the bronze medal by beating Hungary 12-11 after a penalty shoot out.
The U.S. are world water polo champions and had been widely expected to triumph in Beijing [Images], especially after their showing in the preliminary stages when they were unbeaten.
The Dutch by comparison lost their first two games before finally finding their form at just the right moment, powering themselves to the Olympic podium for the first time.
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