Australia v Germany and Pakistan v India are Saturday’s semi-final encounters at the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, while Argentina v England and the Netherlands v Belgium play off in the 5-8 classification round after a thrilling day’s action. Pakistan stunned Pool B winners the Netherlands 4-2; the Kookaburras knocked out Argentina 4-2, whole Germany were 2-0 winners over England and India grabbed a convincing 4-2 win against Belgium.
QF 1: England v Germany 0-2 (0-1)
Germany advanced to a semi-final date with Australia following a hard fought 2-0 (1-0) win over England in the all-European battle, producing a defensive masterclass to upset the form guide. England had won their group while Germany ended Pool B in fourth place.
The Germans started the game in menacing fashion, winning five penalty corners in the opening ten minutes, the last of which came following some outrageous Tobias Hauke skills. Their set piece did not match the approach work, however, and England started to create chances of their own.
Tim Whiteman fired into the side-netting while Nick Catlin shot over from good openings and their link-up play was impressive in the build-up. But they were stung a minute before half-time when Germany won their sixth corner and Moritz Furste picked out the top corner
They duly put in a controlled performance to hold possession, probing the edge of the circle. England came back strong in the closing quarter, Adam Dixon’s shot on the turn drifting agonisingly across the face of goal while Ashley Jackson’s drag-flick was palmed away by Nicolas Jacobi.
Lukas Windfeder put in a stunning block, too, to deny Catlin from England’s second corner and their hopes were killed off with three minutes remaining when Christopher Ruhr held his nerve to finish coolly from close range.
QF 2: Australia v Argentina 4-2 (1-1)
World champions Australia secured their semi-final spot after wrestling down World Cup Bronze medallists Argentina 4-2 (1-1) in Thursday’s second quarter-final at the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar.
Simon Orchard gave Australia a fifth minute lead when he got a stick to Russell Ford’s hard right-wing cross, the ball just evading the clutches of Manuel Vivaldi.
Argentina equalised when Lucas Vila made a lovely run, ghosting around a few tackles before pulling the ball back. Facundo Callioni quickly flipped it to Matias Paredes to volley home a great goal a minute into the second quarter.
The third quarter saw Manuel Brunet putting the Leones ahead 2-1 after a great team move. However, Jeremy Hayward, adding his third goal in this tournament, levelled the score at 2-2 just two minutes later when his penalty corner drag-flick found its way into the net.
The Kookaburras eventually secured their semi-final tickets thanks to Daniel Beale scoring from open play and Chris Ciriello firing home a penalty corner. Argentina’s Leones fought hard to get back but their effort did not pay off.
QF 3: Belgium v India 2-4 (2-2)
Host nation India marched into the semi-finals of the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy on home soil in Bhubaneswar thanks to a stunning 4-2 victory over Belgium. This quarter-final result gives India a semi-final against Pakistan who knocked out the Dutch earlier this day.
The last quarter-final of the day kicked off with a high intensity in the sold-out Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneswar. The Red Lions had the better start in this encounter winning two early penalty corners. However, star flicker Tom Boon was denied on both occasions.
Soon after, Belgian keeper Vincent Vanasch got called into action when he parried the counter-attack of Dharamvir Singh. Felix Denayer eventually opened the scoring with a penalty corner goal flicking the third attempt low into the bottom of the goal.
Sebastien Dockier doubled the lead in the second quarter when he finished off from Tanguy Cosyns’ pre-work. However, the hosts struck back in the same minute with Rupinder Singh firing home India’s first penalty corner.
The equaliser arrived three minutes before halftime thanks to SK Uthappa scoring from open play. The crowd in the Kalinga Stadium freaked out completely when Akashdeep Singh put India ahead 3-2. Dharamvir Singh then extended India’s lead with 11 minutes remaining. After a Belgian penalty corner shot was blocked, India was on the break and finished successfully to make it 4-2.
QF 4: Netherlands v Pakistan 4-2 (1-2)
Pakistan stunned Pool B winners the Netherlands 4-2 (2-1) as their perfectly executed counter-punching saw them put memories of a poor group stage firmly in the past with an excellent Hero Hockey Champions Trophy quarter-final win. It was their first win over the Dutch in the Champions Trophy in 12 attempts, a run dating back to 1998.
The Netherlands got off to a flying start with Jeroen Hertzberger powering home from mid-circle. His initial run had been half-stopped but squirted back into his path and he did the rest in the fifth minute.
Soon after, Muhammad Imran brilliantly saved a Mink van der Weerden drag-flick off the line as the Dutch dominated possession and territory. But Pakistan were playing a clever counter-attack game which began to yield dividends.
Muhammad Waqas created the equaliser with his right wing work unlocking the door for Muhammand Tousiq to scramble home early in the second quarter. Muhammad Rizwan Senior then drew a brilliant save from Jaap Stockman but 2-1 did arrive a minute before the break when Imran fired low past the Dutch goalkeeper.
The Netherlands had more control after the big break and got their reward 38 minutes in when Rogier Hofman’s driven cross from the right flank picked out Constantijn Jonker for a handy finish. But Pakistan still had an ace up their sleeve and, from their most sustained spell of pressure, went ahead for a second time from a clever corner move, laying the ball into the path of Muhammad Irfan to flick high into the net.
Then, when the Dutch fluffed a corner of their own, Pakistan countered to win another set piece which Irfan applied the killer touch.
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Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: The coin toss before the match between Barry Middleton (ENG) and Moritz Fürste (GER) – Stanislas Brochier (c)