The Netherlands are the second team to qualify for the semi finals of the Hero Hockey World League Final in New Delhi. The Dutch walked away with a narrow 2-1 win over Germany in Wednesday’s second quarter final.
The Netherlands started the game in dominant style winning an immediate penalty corner, which was flicked home by Mink van der Weerden in the first minute. The Olympic silver medallists put pressure on the Olympic champions and this resulted in their second goal a few minutes later. Seve van Ass (6’) got the final touch to double Oranje’s lead.
Germany struggled to come back into the match especially as the Dutch side kept up the pressure. The Netherlands came close to extending their lead to 3-0 but they failed to capitalize on their third penalty corner. Eventually, the world ranked no 1 Germany began to win more possession but couldn’t find a way past Jaap Stockmann in the Dutch goal.
The second half saw Germany playing with more intensity; it took them less than three minutes to get on the scoreboard. Florian Fuchs kept possession in the circle and linked well with team-captain Oliver Korn who tipped the ball into the goal.
The game was really end-to-end with the European champions taking hold of the game towards the final whistle. Such was the shape of the game that most of the action took place in the centre of the pitch with quick turn-overs making the match very entertaining.
The Netherlands were clearly pleased with the result, although they acknowledged that they nearly let their opponents back into the game. Robbert Kemperman said; "This is a great feeling. We had a tough last 10 minutes as the German's really came at us and we were not as sharp as we should have been in the second half. Really we should have closed the game down earlier." Reserve goal keeper Pirmin Blaak added that the team had put in a big performance to beat the Netherlands, but "we will need to do it all over again in the semi-finals."
A disappointed Florian Fuchs said: 'We really struggled in the first 15 minutes and we could not come back after that. We just seemed to forget how to play our hockey. After the break we were more switched on and created more chances, but it was always going to be tough to break down the opposition's defence."
Captain of the German team, Oliver Korn said that before the game the whole squad really wanted to stamp their mark on the game, but they "were asleep at the start of the game." Coach Markus Weise agreed: "We didn't play well in the first half and some of the boys didn't do the work that they needed to. We were much better in the second half but one good half is not enough when you are playing the best in the world. Really, I was not satisfied with the way we took our penalty corners today."