Hockey World Cup: England lose semi-final to Netherlands

Barry Middleton
England will play Argentina in the bronze-medal match after losing to Netherlands

England's men failed to reach the World Cup final as they fell to a 1-0 defeat by hosts Netherlands in The Hague.

Mink van der Weerden's deflected penalty corner put Netherlands ahead just five minutes before the break.

England were the stronger side in the second half but the Dutch defence held firm.

England were attempting to reach their first World Cup final since 1986, when they took silver, and will play Argentina in the bronze-medal match.

It is the fifth time since being crowned European champions in 2009 that England have lost a semi-final, following defeats at the Europeans (twice), the Commonwealth Games and the World League Final.

Defending champions Australia will play Netherlands in Sunday's final after they beat Argentina 5-1.

"A World Cup medal is something none of us have as a group and no English players have won for a long time so it is still a pretty big prize we're chasing," captain Barry Middleton told BBC Sport.

England had the first chance just 17 seconds into the match as Ashley Jackson's shot was saved by goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann but after that the Dutch dominated the rest of the half.

After the break, England began to create chances, with Jackson having the best opportunity from a penalty corner, but Bobby Crutchley's side could not find a way through.

Crutchley said: "With the ball we weren't good enough, which is something I've said throughout the tournament, but it's where this team is.

"If we're going to compete at the top we have to be better with the ball."