London: A methodical Germany face rampaging strikers of The Netherlands when they go out to defend their Olympic Games men's hockey title, on Saturday. Starting with a narrow 3-2 victory over tentative India in the opening league match, The Netherlands have won six successive matches and struck form to romp into the final with a 9-2 hammering of hosts Great Britain late Thursday night.
Defending Olympic gold medallists Germany will be seeking to settle a score with the Dutch, who posted a 3-1 victory when the two European hockey powers met in the preliminary group last week on way to topping the pool with an all-win record.
Beijing Olympic gold medallists Germany moved within one victory of defending the title by outplaying World Cup holders Australia 4-2 in the semifinals.
Netherlands' runway victory over Great Britain was a record in recent times for goals scored in a semifinal, only second behind India's 10-0 victory over France in the 1936 Olympic semifinal.
This was the first time ever that Great Britain had conceded nine goals in an international match.
In the Olympics, it was the third occasion Great Britain had lost by seven goals. The last time was in at Sydney in 2000 when they were beaten 8-1 by Pakistan in a pool match. Netherlands equalled their biggest win at the Olympics.
The Dutch had 7-0 victories over Hong Kong in 1964 and against Argentina in 1968.
Two Dutch players, striker Billy Bakker and penalty corner shooter Roderick Weusthof scored three goals each as Netherlands steamrolled Great Britain's defence, almost scoring at will in the second half.
The Dutch goal-scoring machine came into its elements as pressure grew on Great Britain. Playing a brisk overlapping game, 2010 World Cup bronze medallists Netherlands breached the defence nine times to silence a vociferous home crowd.
Weusthof, who opened the Netherlands scoring with a penalty corner drag flick high into the net in the ninth minute, went on to score on two other penalty corners.
In the 14th minute, he swept the ball past hapless goalkeeper James Fair after the initial push was not stopped but the Dutch switched the ball back into the circle. Another rasping drag flick in the 60th minute gave Weusthof his third goal.
Bakkar got into the goal-scoring act two minute before half-time frame with an opportunistic strike on a square pass from Rogier Hofman.
He was on target again in the 45th minute on a short pass inside the circle from seasoned Teun de Nooijer, who is playing in his fifth Olympic Games and got his name on the scoresheet by nudging Bob de Voogd's shot over the goalline in the 47th minute.
Bakker completed his three-goal feat with a firm reverse hit from an acute angle in the 51st minute.
Young penalty corner shooter Mink van der Weerden (21st minute) and captain Floris Evers (48th) contributed a goal each to round off the Dutch scoring, while Great Britain's goals came from Ashley Jackson (18th) and Robert Moore (65th).
"We did not expect to win by this margin. We had trained really hard and we had fun doing it," said ace drag-flicker Weusthof.
Bakker said he had set a target of scoring three goals in these Olympic Games. Now, with these three goals in the semifinals, his tally stands at seven already.
"It's incredible. I do not know what to say, everything went so well," said Bakker.
Great Britain's coach Bobby Crutchley said, "It was very disappointing, very devastating."
Crutchley said a big task ahead for the team was to overcome the dejection and come out to play the bronze medal match against Australia on Saturday.
Netherlands were busy making plans for the title encounter against Germany.
"Netherlands versus Germany is always very competitive," said Bakker. "We scored nine goals in the semifinals and we beat Germany in the pool match."
"Germany should be afraid of us. Mentally, we are stronger than them," he said.
Weusthof sounded a warning to title holders Germany when he said, "We are very confident of winning the final and the gold medal."
London: A methodical Germany face rampaging strikers of The Netherlands when they go out to defend their Olympic Games men's hockey title, on Saturday.
Starting with a narrow 3-2 victory over tentative India in the opening league match, The Netherlands have won six successive matches and struck form to romp into the final with a 9-2 hammering of hosts Great Britain late Thursday night.