Sydney:Nic Arrold scored on a 43rd-minute penalty stroke to give Australia a 2-1 win over Beijing Olympic gold medalists Netherlands on Saturday and a place in Sunday's women's field hockey Champions Trophy final.
Australia, which needed to win to make the final while the Dutch required only a draw, took a 1-0 lead after two minutes on Casey Eastham's goal. Maartje Paumen, off a ninth-minute penalty corner, scored the Dutch equalizer at the Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Center.
Australia will face Argentina in the final. The South Americans played to a scoreless draw with Germany today in a lackluster final round-robin game that had no bearing on the medal matches before it started. Germany plays the Netherlands in the bronze medal match tomorrow.
"Quite a bit was going through my head," Arrold said of her winning goal for Australia. "At the 2005 Champions Trophy in Canberra, I missed a penalty stroke against the Dutch which cost us the match, so it acted as extra motivation." Paumen said the Dutch missed too many opportunities.
"Our tournament has been one of great performances, but not enough goals," Paumen said. "When you don't score, you end up losing games you dominate."
Kate Hollywood played her 100th match for Australia, which claimed a slight edge in career Champions Trophy matches between the teams. In 20 matches against the Dutch in the tournament, Australia holds an 8-7 winning edge along with five draws.
Earlier, China beat England 4-1, taking a 1-0 lead when captain Ma Yibo scored her third goal of the tournament in the 24th minute from a penalty corner. The same teams will meet Sunday in the fifth-place match.
Ma's penalty corner was her 15th in Champions Trophy matches, a tournament record.
England will host next year's tournament in Nottingham and has automatic qualification.
Australia coach Frank Murray criticised the sport's governing body over a little-known rule that could see Australia miss next year's event, despite being guaranteed at least a silver medal.
If England loses to China in tomorrow's first playoff match for fifth place, Australia will have to beat Argentina to stay in the elite six-nations tournament.
The bottom-placed team is normally relegated from the tournament, but England as next year's hosts is exempt, meaning relegation will be decided on Olympic rankings. Australia is fifth.
"I thought if we finished in the top four we would qualify," Murray said today. "I thought the lowest team in the Champions Trophy, bar the host for next year, would be the team that was relegated."
Australia has taken part in every Champions Trophy tournament since its inception in 1987.