Bhubaneswar, Dec 15 (IANS) Three-time champions Netherlands stormed into the final of the hockey World Cup after going past Australia 2(3)-2(4) via sudden death in the pulsating second semi-final at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.
The Dutch side will now face Olympic silver medallists Belgium in the gold medal match on Sunday.
The jampacked Kalinga crowd could not have asked for a better Saturday evening as Netherlands gunning for their fourth World Cup title after two decades contained two-time defending champions Australia 2-2 at the end of regulation time.
As the tie proceeded for this World Cup’s first shootout to break the deadlock, neither of the teams were in the mood to give anything away as the shootout resulted in another tie at 3-3.
The contest then headed for sudden death when the Dutch side managed to get over the line to enter their fourth World Cup final for the first time since 1998.
Earlier, in regulation time Glenn Schuurman (9th minute) and Seve van Ass(20th) got the Netherlands to a 2-0 advantage before Tim Howard (44th) and Eddie Ockenden (60th) helped Australia bounce back and take the tie to the shootout.
In the other semi-final played earlier on Saturday, Belgium entered their maiden World Cup final after thrashing a disjointed England 6-0.
The Belgians scored in all four periods with Alexander Hendrickx (19th, 44th, 50th minutes) converting three penalty corners to complete a hat-trick.
Tom Boon (7th), Cédric Charlier (41st) and Sébastien Dockier (53rd) scored the other goals.