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Netherlands wins women's water polo gold
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The Netherlands defeated the United States 9-8 in the women's water polo final to win the gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games on Thursday.

The Dutch team was in a dominant position throughout the four quarters, leaving the United States struggling to catch up.

Dutch player Danielle de Bruijn scored three goals within four minutes in the first quarter, leading her team into the second quarter in 4-2. The United States tied with the Netherlands 5-5 in the second quarter, but Bruijin broke the draw with another two goals.

The two fought furiously to a 8-8 tie again with less than four minutes to go. As the game was nearly dragged to overtime, de Bruijn scored an extra-man shot, securing the gold for the Netherlands.

The victory set Dutch fans in ecstasy and Dutch head coach Robin Van Galen jumped into the pool to hug and kiss all the girls.

"This match had everything. This was the match of my life and it was Danielle's match of her life too. It is just amazing to end my career like this," the Dutch head coach said.

The coach said he used a time-out to draw up a play before Danielle's last key shot. "We have practiced the play a thousand times. It was amazing to see it go in."

While the Dutch girls were celebrating their victory, the U.S. players were in tears.

"I am obviously not happy. I am extremely disappointed but I have to remember that I am one of very few people to have a silver medal from the Olympic Games," U.S. player Moriah Van Norman said.

U.S. head coach Guy Baker said his team did a good job in the game but the Dutch team was just better.

"It wasn't so much that we were in the wrong defensive position but that they were in the right position. What makes them good is that they have many dangerous shooters. If you take one away, it doesn't mean you can prevent them from scoring."

"I told the players that at the end of the game they were going to cry. Unfortunately these are tears of disappointment," he said.

Also on Thursday, Australia beat Hungary 12-11 in the bronze medal conpetition. The Australians dragged the Hungarian into an overtime play and won the game in the final shoot-out session.

(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2008)

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