FIH Hockey World League Final 2017: Germany edge Netherlands on penalties to enter the semi-finals
Germany stave off Netherlands 4-3 on penalties to seal a last-four spot.
It was classic hockey all the way, as Netherlands tried their best to push Germany out of the competition, forcing them all the way to another penalty shootout in the last quarter-final of the FIH World Hockey League Finals 2017, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. However, in a rerun of the Rio Olympics bronze medal match, Germany edged the Dutch team in the penalty shootout by 4-3 to enter their first ever semi-finals of this tournament.
The Germans were in complete attacking mode from the word go. Giving the Dutchmen no opportunity to recover, they scored their first goal in the very first quarter, at the 12th minute. Julius Myer struck a direct hit into the goal, though not without controversy, as the goal had to be verified by a video referral.
The Dutchmen, however, refused to give up, and Mirco Pruyser struck another field goal in the 21st minute to lock the score 1-1. Hardly six minutes were spent, when Bjorn Kellerman struck another shot past the German goalkeeper Tobias Walter, to give Netherlands a lead of 2-1. However, the Germans, who were far from finished, struck back in style, when their star forward Florian Fuchs flicked a nice push towards the Dutch goalpost, four minutes into the 3rd quarter, locking the score by 2-2.
The Germans were back to their attacking best, and soon enough, they got their results in the 41st minute, when Constantin Staib flicked the ball once again into the Dutch goalpost. But Netherlands, who refused to give in, sprang up a surprise, when Mirco Pruyser struck the ball once again into the German goalpost, right into the dying seconds of the game, forcing Germany to play it out in the penalty shootout.
In the shootout, both the goalkeepers Tobias Walter and Perman Blaak were giving their opponents a run for their money. However, it was the German goalkeeper Walter, who had the upper hand, denying Billy Bakker and star player Robert Kempermann their goals.
Incidentally, it is the same Billy Bakker who missed out on his strike against Walter at the bronze medal match at the Rio Olympics. Finally, the star striker Christopher Ruhr flicked the ball past the Dutch goalkeeper Permann Blaak to win the semi-final ticket for the German team.
Netherlands will now play England for the 7th & 8th position on Friday.
Here is the schedule for the semi-finals and the classification matches:
India vs Argentina [1st Semi-final] - 8th December, 19:30 IST
Germany vs Australia [2nd Sem-ifinal] - 9th December, 19:30 IST
England vs Netherlands [7th - 8th position classification match] - 8th December, 17:15 IST
Belgium vs Spain [5th - 6th position classification match] - 9th December, 17:15 IST