Netherlands to meet England in semifinal

Netherlands to meet England in semifinal

Netherlands to meet England in semifinal

Olympic silver medalists The Netherlands set up semifinal with E­n­gland in the men’s ho­c­­key Wor­ld Cup.

Netherlands played a relaxed 1-1 draw with New Zealand in their last league fixture and still topped Group B with 13 points from five outings.

Argentina, who earned their maiden men’s World Cup semifinals with a 5-1 win over South Africa, finished second in the group with 12 points, ousting reigning Olympic champions Germany from the semifinal race. In the semifinals, three-time champions Netherlands will take on England, while Argentina will meet defending champions Australia on Friday.

Velantin Verga gave Netherlands the lead against New Zealand with an opportunistic strike in the eighth minute, but the Dutch did not put too much energy into the game thereafter. They apparently wanted to avoid any injuries ahead of the semifinals.

Germany finished with nine points and paid the penalty for suffering identical 1-0 defeats against Netherlands and Argentina.

The only previous occasion that the Germans were not in the semifinals was in the inaugural World Cup in 1971 when Kenya made the semifinals at the expense of West Germany.

Men’s semifinals (Friday): The Netherlands vs England; Argentina vs Australia.