Sydney:Captain Luciana Aymar struck the decisive penalty as Argentina beat Australia 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday to take the gold medal at the Champions Trophy women's field hockey tournament.
The game was scoreless after fulltime and 15 minutes of overtime failed to produce a breakthrough.
In the shootout, Australian goalkeeper Toni Cronk saved one Argentina penalty stroke but after Fiona Boyce and Nicole Arrold missed shots for Australia, Aymar slotted the winning goal.
Argentina retained the Champions Trophy, having also won in Germany last year. It also won in 2001.
Despite winning silver _ its first Champions Trophy medal since 2005 _ and beating Olympic champions the Netherlands, Australia was relegated from the elite six-nation tournament for the first time since its inception in 1987.
"It's disappointing that you can come second and lose in a penalty shootout and all of a sudden you're not in the next year's Champions Trophy," said Australia captain Madonna Blyth, who was named player of the tournament.
"But they are the rules and after this they'll have a bit of a look at them, because a team that can come fifth can go through but a team that can come second can't."
England finished last after being beaten 7-0 by China on Sunday but gets automatic entry to next year's tournament as host. That meant Australia was relegated because it had the lowest Olympic ranking _fifth _ of the remaining teams.
Earlier, the Netherlands bounced back from its final-round loss to Australia to beat Germany 5-2 in the bronze medal match.
Maartje Paumen scored twice to become the tournament's highest scorer with five goals while teammate Marilyn Agliotti also scored twice as the Netherlands established its 5-2 lead by halftime.
The Netherlands have not been beaten by Germany in 10 Trophy matches and have now won medals at every Champions Trophy since 1989.