The Netherlands produced an outstanding second half performance to outdo Belgium 3-2 and advance to the final of the men’s EuroHockey Championship in Mönchengladbach.
The Red Lions had the better of the first half and they went in front after just a few minutes when Cedric Charlier powered a cross into the path of Felix Denayer who turned home.
But they could not capitalise further on their ascendancy in the first half as the Dutch corner defence held out four set pieces.
The Oranje, meanwhile, forced their way back into the contest in the third quarter. They got a break when Victor Wegnez miscontrolled and player of the match Jonas de Geus took on the ball and battered it home through Vincent Vanasch.
Thierry Brinkman, then, got the credit for the 2-1 goal when his baseline run and pull across goal took a defensive stick. In similar fashion, Nico de Kerpel latched onto a turnover and swept the ball into the danger zone where it picked up a defensive stick for 2-2.
It remained that way until three minutes from the end when Dutch prodigy Duco Telgenkamp continued his amazing run of goalscoring, snatching a bouncing ball off a Belgian stick and then slotting home on his backhand.
De Geus said his head was “all over the place” after the rollercoaster of a match.
“Really happy with the result; first half Belgium was the better side and Jeroen [Delmee] gave us a little pep talk in half-time and we did way better second half. Really proud of the team.
“He felt like we didn’t play to our level, that we weren’t playing with courage. That was the main thing for the second half. Lars Balk said it: if we lose 4-0 but give everything, it is better than lose 1-0 and don’t hit our level.”
Semi-final: Netherlands 3 (J de Geus, T Brinkman, D Telgenkamp) Belgium 2 (F Denayer, N de Kerpel)