Netherlands scored two first half goals to shut the door on Olympic champions Germany with a fighting 2-1 win and enter the semifinals of the Hero Hockey World League Final at the Major Dhyan Chnd National Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Netherlands, ranked third, started positively and took the lead as early as in the opening minute of the game from their first penalty corner which was converted by Mink van der Weerden. The Netherlands outplayed world number one Germany in the first half, and continued their attacking game. The Dutchmen doubled their lead five minutes later through a field goal from Seve van Ass (6th minute) to rattle the Germans.
The Germans got their first scoring chance five minutes from half time in the form of a penalty corner but wasted the opportunity to go into the break trailing 0-2.
The Germans played with more intensity after the change of ends and managed to pull one back, three minutes into the second period through captain Oliver Korn (38th minute), who tapped home from close range after he was set up by some nice stickwork from Florian Fuchs.
Thereafter, both the teams battled hard for goals and the Germans came close on a number of occasions but Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stokmann was upto the task. The Netherlands too had plenty of chances at the opposition goal and if not for the brilliant goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi, the scoreline could have been different. Jacobi came up with some brilliant saves in the last quarter of the game to keep Germany in the hunt.
Just three minutes from the final hooter, the Germans managed to find the back of the Dutch net but the goal was disallowed after Netherlands went for the referral.
Netherlands will face the winner of the fourth quarterfinal between world number 2 Australia and hosts India in the second semifinal on Friday, while Germany will play the loser of the final last-eight game in the 5-8 play-off encounter.