Dutch, NZ enter final

Dutch, NZ enter final

Hockey World League Final

Dutch, NZ enter final

Black Sticks down England; Netherlands beat Aus

The Netherlands thwarted a resilient fightback from Australia to cruise into the final of Hero Hockey World League Final with a hard-fought 4-3 victory at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here on Friday.

They now play World No 7 New Zealand, who pipped England 7-6 via sudden death in the first semifinals. The match between England and New Zealand ended 3-3 at fulltime.

The Dutch, ranked three, dominated the first half in a measured start by both the sides. They went ahead through Constantijn Jonker’s 12th-minute reverse hit and consolidated it through Mink van der Weerden’s perfect drag-flick to the top corner in the 20th minute. 

Australia then raised their attack and were rewarded with two penalty corners. They frittered away both to enter the half-time trailing 0-2.

The Kookaburras, though, are not the ones to take things lying down for long. Expectedly, they returned revived in the second half.  The scores were levelled in no time, thanks to the strikes from Kieran Govers (42nd) and Russell Ford (47th). While Govers scored from a penalty corner Ford accurately deflected a free-hit. Govers then scored his second in the 55th minute as Australia zoomed to a 3-2 lead.

But Jeroen Hertzberger (62th ) ensured that Netherlands stayed in the fight and within four minutes van der Weerden converted his second penalty corner to show the door to Australia.

Earlier England and New Zealand ended the 70 minutes levelled 3-3 to force the issue to a penalty shootout. They remained at par after the first five attempts in the shootout and the match spilled into the sudden death stage. Harry Martin missed for England and Phil Burrows was on target to make way for New Zealand into the final.

Their Black Sticks’ victory ended the unbeaten run of England in the tournament while also avenging their 5-2 thrashing at the hands of the World No 4 side during the league stage.

New Zealand maintained the pressure from the start with Marcus Child (12th) scoring with a firm strike from wide of the goal. England equalised through a brilliant diving shot by Martin in the 23rd minute.

In an action-packed second half, England took the lead through Mark Gleghorne (49th). The Black Sticks responded by raising the ante and nosed ahead with two quick goals from Stephen Jenness (61st) and Hugo Inglis (62nd).

England brought the scores at par through penalty stroke, converted by Ashley Jackson (64th), after Barry Middleton was fouled en route to goal.

Results (all semifinals): New Zealand: 7 (Marcus Child 12th, Stephen Jenness 61st, Hugo Inglis 62nd) bt England: 6 (Harry Martin 23rd, Mark Gleghorne 49th, Ashley Jackson 64th) via shoot-out. FT: 3-3.

Netherlands: 4 (Constantijn Jonker 12th, Jeroen Hertzberger 62nd, Mink van der Weerden 20th, 66th) bt Australia: 3 (Kieran Govers 42nd, 55th, Russell Ford 47th).

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