Defending champions Australia are set to face hosts Netherlands in the Hockey World Cup final at The Hague on Sunday. The Dutch prevailed over England in the semifinal, while the Kookaburras ousted Argentina to book their place for the clash at the Kyocera Stadium.
The first semi was a battle between a strong Dutch attack and a solid English defence. The hosts prevailed over England through a 31st minute goal by Mink van Weerden on a penalty corner.
After taking the lead in the first half, Netherlands pressed hard for the second goal but the resurgent English defenders kept them at bay.
The hosts enjoyed most of the possession in the second half but the English wall proved tough for them to break. England also had opportunities to score but they failed to provide the finishing touch.
"They gave us the midfield, and I understand why," said Netherlands coach Paul van Ass. "But I like to play more attacking hockey, and when it is like that, we can always concede a goal."
After the match van Ass said he would prefer to face Australia in the final because both teams like to play attacking hockey.
Meanwhile, Australia played high quality hockey and stunned the South Americans as early as in the fourth minute through Kieran Govers. It was one-way traffic afterwards and the former champions doubled their lead in the 22nd minute through Jeremy Hayward.
Jacob Whetton fired home the third on skipper Mark Knowles' pass, while Hayward scored his second six minutes later, through a drag flick. Chris Ciriello sealed the match in the 49th minute when his drag flick rocketed into the goal.
"I think we played a very solid first half, although we lost concentration towards the end, which is a worry to me," Australia's coach Ric Charlesworth said. "We have been in Europe now for four weeks and we are ready for this important game."
Charlesworth said he is not concerned about facing the Dutch in the finals as they are a good team and played well in the tournament.
"I don't care who's there," he said. "The Dutch are there because they have worked hard and we have worked hard to get there too."
Aussie captain Knowles said their target of reaching the final, after a disappointing campaign in the 2012 London Olympics, has been achieved and now the players are concentrating on the big match.
"Our first priority was to get to the semi-finals," Knowles said. "We have fought for four years to get here. After London 2012 we were disappointed with how we went about things and our goal was to be in the final in this majestic stadium. We are here, the Netherlands are here and the final is on Sunday."
Schedule of Play
Bronze Medal Match: Argentina vs England (Men) Starts at 12:30 pm CET, 4:00 pm IST
Final: Australia vs Netherlands (Men) Starts at 3:15 pm CET, 6:45 pm IST
Where to Watch Live
The bronze medal match, between Argentina and England, is scheduled for a 12:30 pm local time (4:00 pm IST) start, and Australia vs Netherlands final set for a 3:15 pm local time (6:45 pm IST) start. Live coverage in India is on Ten Sports, with live streaming option HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the action on ESPN 3 or via live streaming option HERE. The UK viewers can watch the matches on Sky Sports 3, while they can also catch the action live online HERE.