BHUBANESWAR: For the second night in a row, the capacity crowd at theKalinga Stadium
witnessed yet another heart-stopping finish with the quarter-final clash betweenGermany
going into the shootout. This time, it was Germany who held their nerves to edge past Netherlands 4-3 in the shootout after the game ended on an even keel (3-3) in the regulation time. Mats Gramsbusch, Marco Miltkau, Dieter Linnekogel and Christopher Ruhr scored in the shootout for the four-time Olympic champions while for the Dutch Mirco Pruijser, Seve Van Ass and Bjorn Kellerman were on target.
Germany will meet Australia in the second semi-final on Saturday while India face Argentina in the first semi-final on Friday.
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The match lived up to its reputation – a clash between two powerhouses. Forwards from both the teams took advantage of defensive slip up to score. However, it was Grambusch quick feet that resulted in Germany going up in the first quarter. He ran in from the sideline and raced almost ahead of a Dutch player to take the ball and had the time to slip it under his opponent’s stick for Julius Meyer (12′) on his right. The German no. 8 picked it up, pushed it inside the D and from there thrashed the ball past the Netherlands keeper to give his team 1-0 lead.
Netherlands equalised through Pruijser (21′) who did all the hard work to enter German circle and from the backline directed the ball bang in front of the goalpost but the resulting shot from his teammate was blocked. Luckily, it fell in front of him and he tapped it in. That Netherlands were able to equalise was thanks to Meyer who failed to block Pruijser’s initial pass from the backline and received a dressing down from his captain Martin Haner.
Kellerman (27′) then put his team ahead two minutes later. A beautiful move, engineered by Thijs Van Dam as he made a 360 spin to pass the ball between two German defenders to Kellerman who then did the rest.
But Germany came back with a equaliser of their own through Florian Fuchs (34′). And he almost put them ahead, again, with a powerful reverse hit from the left but Primin Blaak blocked it. However, Constantin Staib (41′) got hold of the ball on rebound and this time, Blaak’s effort was weak and the ball went inside the cage.
Germany went into the final quarter, aiming to hold on to their slim lead and hopefully score one more to seal the issue but with 24 seconds left on the clock, Pruijser (60′) tipped the ball inside an open goal to make it 3-3.