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EuroHockey Championships: England 1 Netherlands 3

PUBLISHED: 21:31 25 August 2017 | UPDATED: 21:31 25 August 2017

Barry Middleton and George Pinner acknowledge the England fans after their defeat (pic Frank Uijlenbroek/England Hockey)

Barry Middleton and George Pinner acknowledge the England fans after their defeat (pic Frank Uijlenbroek/England Hockey)

WSP/Frank Uijlenbroek

A brace from Mirco Pruijser guided the Netherlands to victory over England as the hosts booked their place in the Rabo EuroHockey Championships final.

England's Sam Ward battles with Dutch rival Jorrit Croon (pic Frank Uijlenbroek/England Hockey)England's Sam Ward battles with Dutch rival Jorrit Croon (pic Frank Uijlenbroek/England Hockey)

England more than held their own in the game, and fought valiantly in front of 10,000 vociferous home fans.

But Mink Van der Weerden gave the Dutch a second quarter lead before Pruijser’s double gave the Dutch breathing space.

Mark Gleghorne gave England late hope with a stunning drag-flick but the Netherlands held out to reach the final where they will face Belgium.

England will now contest for a bronze medal against Germany at 12.30pm UK time on Sunday afternoon.

Sam Ward contemplates defeat (pic Frank Uijlenbroek/England Hockey)Sam Ward contemplates defeat (pic Frank Uijlenbroek/England Hockey)

With 10,000 fans in Amsterdam’s Wagener Stadium cheering on the hosts, a cauldron-like atmosphere was created as the sides took to the pitch.

However it was England who made the brighter start, taking the game to the hosts and making circle penetrations and attacking the baseline, forcing the Dutch defence into early action.

The best chance of the opening quarter fell to Ollie Willars, when a long aerial ball was collected well by Barry Middleton who found Willars in space but his slapped effort was well saved by Blaak.

The Dutch keeper was again called into action before the first break as David Condon unleashed a fierce shot but Blaak saved spectacularly with his stick, while at the other end a simple save by George Pinner kept the scores level.

Against the run of play the hosts took the lead soon after the first break through Van der Weerden whose initial penalty corner effort was chased down by Liam Sanford before he hammered home the rebound high into the net on the reverse.

The lead was doubled a minute later, when a break released Pruijser into the circle and he turned and smashed his effort into the bottom corner giving Pinner little chance.

After the half-time interval the hosts continued to dominate possession and eventually moved further ahead as Billy Bakker made a good run down the left before cutting back into the circle, where the ball was lifted to Pruijser who volleyed first time on the reverse into the net in some style.

However just before the final break England gave themselves a lifeline when from a penalty corner Gleghorne fired a spectacular drag-flick into the top right corner.

England pressed for another and went close through Chris Griffiths, when a clever ball from Middleton fed him into the circle, but his shot from a tight angle flew just wide of the far post.

The team continued to battle and removed Pinner for a kicking back in the closing stages but the Dutch slowed the tempo to run down the clock and book their place in Sunday’s final.

England: George Pinner, Brendan Creed, Liam Sanford, Henry Weir, Michael Hoare, Ian Sloan (C), Sam Ward, Phil Roper, Barry Middleton, David Goodfield, David Condon, Chris Griffiths, Adam Dixon, Mark Gleghorne, Harry Martin, David Ames, Ollie Willars. Unused sub: Harry Gibson.

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