Netherlands miss out on Champions Trophy final spot in dramatic fashion

©: Frank Uijlenbroek

The Netherlands missed out on a place in the Champions Trophy final as they drew 1-1 with India who advanced in their place.

A capacity crowd were given a cracking show by home favourites with both sides showing full commitment in the race to secure a place in Sunday’s title match.

The European champions went closest to opening the scoring when a brilliant turn and backhand strike from Robbert Kemperman forced a fine save from India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, while India’s counter-attacking threat certainly kept the Dutch defenders busy.

The Netherlands dominated the third quarter but could not find a breakthrough as India showed organisation in defence to keep the Dutch off the score-sheet.

Despite the home favourites looking most likely, it was the Indians who broke the deadlock two minutes into the final quarter when Mandeep Singh pounced on a saved penalty corner to finish in emphatic style, silencing the home crowd. The Dutch fans were soon cheering again thanks to Thierry Brinkman, who squeezed in an equaliser from a tight angle with five minutes remaining.

The Netherlands piled on the pressure in the remaining minutes but, despite having a strike ruled out by the video umpire, could not find the goal that they needed to deny the Indians a place in the gold medal game.

Argentina beat Australia 3-2 in the opening game of the day with Gonzalo Peillat scoring a hat trick.

“It was a really tough match but we did it for us”, said Peillat, who has now scored six times in Breda and leads the race to finish as top scorer. “We really haven’t played a good tournament and this was our best performance so far. It was really good for the team to get some confidence.”

The competition concludes on Sunday with the 5-6 classification match between Belgium and Pakistan getting things started at 11:30 (CET), Netherlands and Argentina will contest the bronze medal match at 1:45pm, with the gold medal game between Australia and India scheduled to start at 4pm.