Hockey World League Final 2017: Argentina edge out England, Germany pip Netherlands to complete semi-final line-up

By PTI

Bhubaneswar: Olympic champions Argentina edged past England 3-2 while Germany defeated Netherlands in the shoot-out to become the last two teams to qualify for the semi-finals of the Hockey World League (HWL) in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

In the first quarter-final of the day, Argentina, who finished third in Pool A with just one point, scored through field strikes from Lucas Villa (21st minute), skipper Mattias Paredes (29th) and a penalty stroke conversion by Juan Gillardi (34th) to eke out their first win of the tournament.

Argentine players celebrate during their HWL Final 2017 match against Engalnd. Twitter/@ArgFieldHockey

For England, David Condon (29th) and Adam Dixon (60th) found the net but that was not enough to take them through at a packed Kalinga Stadium.

Later in the day, World No 5 Germany got the better of European champions Netherlands 4-3 in the shoot-out after the two teams were locked 3-3 at the end of regulation time in the thrilling last quarter-final duel.

The first quarter belonged to the Germans who took the lead in the 12th minute through a field goal by Julius Meyer before the Dutchmen made a valiant fightback in the next 15 minutes to score two goals in a span of seven minutes to change the scoreline.

Mirco Pruijser (21st) and Bjorn Kellerman scored two fine field goals to reverse the scoreline at half time.

It was a hard-fought, end-to-end contest between the two teams as the script changed in the third quarter again when Florian Fuchs (34th) and Constatin Staib (41st) struck from field tries to hand Germany a 3-2 lead.

Trailing by a goal, the Netherlands went all out attacking in the fourth quarter and mounted a series of raids on the opposition citadel and in the process earned as many as three penalty corners in the last seven minutes but the German defence stood like a rock to hold on to their slim lead.

But there was still some drama in store as Pruijser sounded the board just 25 seconds from the hooter to draw parity for the Netherlands and take the match into the shoot-out.

In the shoot-out, the Germans showed their prowess and kept a calm head to come out on top.

While India and Argentina will lock horns in the first semi-final on Friday, Germany will play world champions Australia in the second last-four game on Saturday.