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Saturday, September 30
Netherlands wins on penalty strokes

SYDNEY, Australia -- The Netherlands retained the Olympic men's field hockey title Saturday, defeating first-time finalist South Korea 8-7 in a clash decided on penalty strokes.

Netherlands prevailed 5-4 in the tiebreaker, required to break the deadlock for the first time in Olympic hockey's history, after the two teams were tied 3-3 during the regulation and extra time periods.

The Dutch became the first team in four decades to retain the men's Olympic crown since India's six-gold sequence finished after the 1956 Games in Melbourne.

The title clash was played to the wire, with the South Koreans scoring two goals in the last four minutes to take the match into extra period after Dutch skipper Stefan Veen's hattrick appeared to have clinched the game for the Netherlands.

The title win marked a thrilling climax for the Dutch, who were on the brink of elimination from the preliminary phase until Britain's shock win over Germany allowed them to sneak into the semifinals on basis of a superior goal differential.

Earlier in the day, Australia rode on Troy Elder's hattrick to beat three-time champion Pakistan 6-3 in the bronze medal game. Australia also finished third at the Atlanta Games.
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