Olympic silver medallists Belgium thrashed England while three-time winners the Netherlands survived two-time defending champions Australia in a shoot-out thriller on Saturday to set-up an all-European final at the 2018 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup.
At the KalingaStadiumu, Bhubaneswar, world number three Belgium mauled England 6-0 in the first semi-final to enter their maiden appearance in the World Cup summit clash.
But the Dutch, ranked fourth, got all the help needed from lady luck to beat Australia 4-3 (2-2) via shoot-out after the regulation time ended at two goals each to enter the World Cup final for a record seventh time. Pakistan and Australia have also competed in six finals.
Alexander Hendrickx (45th, 50th minutes) converted two penalty corners, while Tom Boon (8th), Simon Gougnard (19th), Cedric Charlier (42nd) and Sebastien Dockier (53rd) were the other goal scorers for the world number three.
In an intense match, Dutch took the lead in the ninth minute with a field goal from 11 Glenn Schuurman. The Europeans doubled the lead in the 20th with another field goal, scored by van Ass Seve.
But Australia halved the lead with 16 converting a penalty corner in the 45th minute. The Kookaburras then pressed hard for the equaliser, and it came with only 26 seconds left in the match with captain Eddie Ockenden scoring through a deflection from Schuurman. In football, that's an own goal.
It forced the first ever shoot-out in this edition of the tournament.
Daniel Beale missed the sudden death stroke with Pirmin Blaak blocking the Aussie player to settle the duel.
Earlier, Aran Zalewski started the shoot-out with a missed attempt. Jeroen Hertzberger scored to give the Dutch the lead, Mirco Pruijser and Robbert Kemperman missed for the Europeans even as Beale and Tom Craig scored for the defending champions.
van Ass Seve scored for the Dutch to keep their hopes alive. Then Jake Whetton scored to again put the pressure on the Dutch. van Dam Thijs scored to level the scoreat 3-3.
In the sudden death, Hertzberger scored but Beale failed.
Earlier in the day, the Red Lions' best performance in the World Cup was a fifth-place finish in the last edition of the tournament at The Hague, the Netherlands in 2014.
The Belgium players, who wore black armbands to pay respect to their teammate Gougnard whose father passed away before the match, dominated possession in the first two quarters and created a couple of promising chances, two of which resulted in goals.
It didn't take long for Belgium to take the lead as Boon deflected in Florent van Aubel's measured cross from the left in the eighth minute.
Just seconds from the end of first quarter, Boon again came close but his deflection from a long ball hit the post.
Belgium doubled their lead in the 19th minute through Gougnard, who scored from a rebound after Hendrickx's flick from their first penalty corner was saved by England captain and goalkeeper George Pinner.
The Red Lions missed a sitter three minutes from half-time when an unmarked Dockier pushed wide Van Aubel's pass, with only Pinner to beat.
Just a minute after the change of ends, England secured their first penalty corner, but the world number seven failed to capitalise on the opportunity.
Belgium extended their lead in the 42nd minute through Charlier, who scored with a fierce shot from a close range.
Minutes later, England earned another penalty corner but Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch was up to the task and thwarted the danger with a fine save.
Seconds from the end of the third quarter, Belgium made it 4-0 when Hendrickx found the back of the English net from his team's second penalty corner.
Belgium continued to toy with the English defence and pumped in two more goals in the fourth and final quarter to make the last-four contest a thoroughly one-sided affair.
Another penalty corner resulted in another goal through Hendrickx, in the 50th minute, before Dockier scored from a field effort three minutes later to complete the rout.
Towards the end of the match, England secured two more penalty corners but lack of execution let them down, as they rounded off a disappointing outing.
(With PTI inputs)
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