Germany see out Dutch scare to make final
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Germany overcame a major second half stutter when the Netherlands leveled from 0-3 down, before eventually coming through 5-3 in the semifinal of the Junior Hockey World Cup. The win takes them within a game of their sixth junior world title. They will play France, who reached their maiden final, who won on penalties (3-1) after playing out a 1-1 draw with Malaysia.
In a matchup that was a repeat of the last Junior World Cup finals, the Germans were perhaps slight favourites going into their match. In Mats Grambusch and Christopher Ruhr, they had two players with international experience as compared to Holland, which had none. Since their first game defeat against Belgium, Germany have put up a mature show, displaying immense discipline, positional awareness and, most critically, that has giving opponents few easy chances.
Against Netherlands they were clinical in the opponent's half, making their first circle incursion count. A penalty corner was earned in the fourth minute and Nicholas Windfer rocketed the shot high to the right of keeper Pieter Noordam. Ten minutes later it was 2-0 for Germany. Nordam was at fault giving away a PC after padding way a shot onto his own defender's face. Windfer would make no mistake, sounding the board with a low shot.
Noordam was rattled and unsurprisingly he was substituted soon after. The new keeper Jan de Wijkerslooth was called into action in a PC and justified his substitution with a brilliant save to deny Windfer a third. Germany's domination wasn't complete -- they gave a couple of chances and Viktor Aly kept the lead 2-0 after reflex saves off a PC in the final seconds of the first half.
Holland, needing to strike early in the second half, started with four players in the forward line. Shooting from the top of the circle, Tom Hiebendaal clipped the post early in the second half. Five minutes in, Thierry Brinkman received a long pass, turned past his marker and shot from close range but Aly again blocked. Germany then got a three goal cushion in the 47th minute when Christopher Ruhr, who has already scored a couple of sensational goals in the tournament, produced another. Ruhr stole the ball from behind the centre line, broke through the whole Dutch defense before firing in his eighth goal of the tournament.
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