Rabobank Hockey World Cup: Netherlands reach final after 1-0 win against England
Last Updated: 13/06/14 9:39pm
England bowed out of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup after they lost their semi-final 1-0 to the Netherlands at the Kyocera Stadium on Friday.
Mink van der Weerden scored the only goal of the match just before half-time as the Dutch extended their winning streak against England to 11 matches, 12 if you include Team GB’s 9-2 reverse at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
It was a strike that crushed England’s hopes of a first World Cup final appearance for 28 years.
"It was a great team effort, we fought like hell in the second half and we didn't score a second goal which made it really hard, but we defended really well as a team," Van der Weerden told Sky Sports after sending his side into the final.
Paul van Ass’ side remain on course for a fourth World Cup title, last winning the competition on home soil in Utrecht in 1998, and will face defending champions Australia in Sunday’s showpiece event after they booked a fourth successive final by comprehensively beating Argentina 5-1.
After an entertaining opening 10 minutes which saw both sides enjoy chances on goal, the host nation rose to prominence, but could not break the resilient efforts of England goalkeeper George Pinner.
However, the sustained period of pressure applied by the Netherlands began to tell with half-time approaching.
England’s resistance to the inevitable finally buckled when Van der Weerden fired into the top right of Pinner’s net with a penalty corner goal as the Dutch side took the lead on the cusp of half time.
Ashley Jackson, who struck England’s only shot on target, admitted: “We knew it was going to be a tight game but we wanted to keep it as close as possible for as long as we could and that was going to give us the best chance of winning it."
Once Jackson had deflected Nick Catlin's pass into goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann after just 17 seconds it was virtually one-way traffic in the first half.
Van der Weerden had Holland's first penalty corner brilliantly stopped on the line by Barry Middleton before Valentin Verga fired wide having robbed Michael Hoare and Seve van Ass's shot was touched on to the crossbar by Dan Fox.
The vital breakthrough came in the 30th minute when Van der Weerden's flick took a slight deflection which sent it past goalkeeper Pinner's left hand.
After the break Barry Middleton and Pinner both made good saves from another Van der Weerden penalty corner and Rogier Hofman hit a post.
As the half wore on England began to create chances and having exerted some pressure Jackson saw his first penalty corner - which could easily have been a penalty stroke after Middleton was pushed over - charged down.
Pinner was withdrawn for the final three minutes as England tried to take advantage of an extra outfield player but they could not force the equaliser.
"First half we were under the cosh and defending too much and not playing hockey," England coach Bobby Crutchley told Sky Sports.
"Second half we upped the game and played better but unfortunately they were the best team and we didn't have enough chances.
"Twelve months ago when we put a new team together post-London (Olympics) I wouldn't have dreamed we would be in a World Cup final."
England will stay in The Hague to compete in the pre-cursor to Sunday’s finale, as they face Argentina with a bronze medal at stake.
In the second semi-final, Jeremy Hayward score twice as the Hockeyroos stormed into the final with a dominant display against Argentina.
Kieran Govers, Jacob Whetton and Chris Ciriello also netted for Australia, while a Gonzalo Pelliat penalty corner goal offered some consolation for Argentina.
Men's semi-final results: Netherlands 1-0 England, Australia 5-1 Argentina
Watch the Netherlands take on Australia in the final of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup final from 1:30pm on Sky Sports 3HD this Sunday