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Dutch stun Americans for gold in water polo

Dutch stun Americans for gold in water polo

Danielle de Bruijn scored seven goals, including the game-winner with 26 seconds left, as the Netherlands edged the United States 9-8 in the gold medal match in women's water polo Thursday.
"I don't think I've ever quite seen that," U.S. coach Guy Baker said. "It is up there with some of the great performances, especially because she did it at the Olympics. We were trying to get her stopped, but she's always been a good scorer."
De Bruijn scored three of the first four goals of the match, helping stake the Dutch to a 4-0 lead. She scored two more after halftime, giving her team a 7-5 advantage.
She saved her best for last, scoring twice on power plays that turned out to be the difference.
"This moment is very special for her," Netherlands coach Robin van Galen said.
De Bruijn is retiring after more than a decade on the national team and in need of knee surgery.
"This is great to play this way in the last game," said de Bruijn.
The left-hander who was so disappointed her country didn't qualify the 2004 games in Athens helped them make amends four years later. The Dutch knocked defending Olympic gold medalist Italy out in the quarterfinals, sent Hungary to the bronze medal game in the semifinals and delivered their biggest upset in the finals.
The Netherlands came to Beijing ranked ninth in the world, and leaving on top.
The Americans came to Beijing ranked No. 1 in the world and looked like they might get the gold medal that eluded them in Sydney (silver) and Athens (bronze).
They may have had they been able to stop de Bruijn. Nonetheless, the Americans had several chances to tie it up in the waning seconds, but Elsie Windes missed an outside shot and teammate Brenda Villa couldn't put home the rebound.
"I like the way we came back," Baker said. "I don't think we ever panicked down 4-0. We just could never get over the hump."
The United States overcame the 4-0 deficit to tie it at 5 at halftime and again evened the scored, 8-all with 5:05 remaining, on Moriah van Norman's goal from the 2-meter area.
But captain Brenda Villa was called for an exclusion penalty with 45 seconds left, putting the Dutch in a 6-on-5 situation _ and giving de Bruijn extra space to operate.
She made it count, too, pump faking from the top of the zone and then unleashing an overhead shot that whipped by goalkeeper Betsy Armstrong for the go-ahead score with 26 seconds left.


Updated : 2020-12-05 03:11 GMT+08:00