Australia reach field hockey final vs Dutch despite defeat

CHANGZHOU, China — Australia backed into the Women’s Champions Trophy final against the Netherlands after surprisingly losing to Japan 3-1 on Saturday.The Hockeyroos’ nerves were then jangling when China had a chance to make the field hockey final but lost to the Dutch 2-1.The Australians will meet the Netherlands in the final on Sunday, five days after the Dutch crushed them 3-0. Both teams will be going for a record-tying seventh title. Their last match was in the Women’s World Cup semifinals in July, when the Netherlands won in a shootout.Japan hadn’t won a match in the round robin, but started fast against Australia with goals to Yuri Nagai in the third minute and Yukari Mano on a counterattack. Minami Shimizu scored off a deflection to start the second half, and Australia finally unlocked the Japan defence through newcomer Penny Squibb from a penalty corner in the 54th.China then needed a draw or win, be the first team to take points from the Netherlands. But Maxime Kerstholt scored the only goal of the first half.And when China swapped out its goalkeeper, the Dutch swapped their’s, too, and reacted first. Marijn Veen scored her tournament-leading fifth goal for insurance.In the final seconds, Gu Bingfeng scored from a penalty corner for China, only the second goal conceded by the Netherlands in five matches.Argentina, the titleholder, stayed in the medal hunt after taking down Olympic champion Britain 1-0. Victoria Sauze scored from a penalty corner in the fifth minute, and Argentina held on.Argentina will play China on Sunday for bronze.___More AP sports: and Associated Press read more