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Jae C. Hong, Associated Press
Argentina's Macarena Rodriguez Perez, center, takes off her face mask as the Netherlands' players celebrate a goal by Maartje Paumen (17) during a women's field hockey gold medal match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012.

LONDON — The Netherlands retained the women's Olympic hockey title with a 2-0 win over world champion Argentina at Riverbank Arena on Friday.

The Dutch scored off two second-half penalty corners to join Australia as the only three-time Olympic champions. At the final whistle, the Dutch celebrated with a mass hug.

The country has a chance at a first-ever Olympic double Saturday when the Dutch men's hockey team takes on Germany.

Earlier Friday, Britain's women got the bronze by beating New Zealand 3-1 to secure their country's first Olympic field hockey medal in 20 years. Prince William's wife, the former Kate Middleton, was on hand to applaud the goals, all of them from second-half penalty corners.

In the women's final, Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel scored the first Dutch goal from a rebound of midfielder Eva de Goede's corner in the 40th minute. The shot went in just to the left of the post.

"I had a good feeling from the beginning and we played such a good first half, and the second half they (Argentina) were absolutely nowhere," De Goede said.

Van den Heuvel said the Dutch had outplayed Argentina for the entire game, "and if you take too long scoring, it only gets more and more difficult, so it just had to happen."

After Argentine goalkeeper Florencia Mutio saved a corner by Maartje Paumen, the Dutch captain then scored on her next chance a minute later, in the 54th. It was her 14th Olympic goal and third in London.

No. 2-ranked Argentina was seeking its first gold medal, but its captain, Luciana Aymar, couldn't celebrate her 35th birthday with a victory in her last match before retiring.

Argentina has been unable to get by the Netherlands in the Olympics. The country lost to the Dutch in the 2004 and 2008 semifinals, finishing with bronze medals to go with their silver in 2000 in Sydney.

The Netherlands twice missed scoring chances in the first three minutes in scrambles in front of the goal.

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Argentina's corner specialist Noel Barrionuevo was wide left with her first shot in the 9th, and Dutch goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek turned aside a shot by Aymar.

The match was paused after Mariela Scarone was hit under the left eye by Ellen Hoog's stick. Scarone walked of the field with a towel staunching the bleeding, but returned in the second half. Hoog had also hit New Zealand's Katie Glynn in the head in the semifinals.

The second Dutch goal was Paumen's third of the tournament, bringing her career Olympic tally to a record 14.