The Dutch hockey players will play against South Korea in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in India on Wednesday. The Asians caused a resounding surprise in the intermediate round on Monday by beating Argentina via shoot-outs.
Argentina twice took a two-hit lead, but relinquished it both times. After sixty minutes there was a 5-5 draw on the board and so shoot-outs had to make the decision. Argentina, the 2016 Olympic champion, missed three times. South Korea only missed once.
South Korea was sentenced to play an intermediate round, because the world number eleven behind Belgium and Germany had finished third in the group stage. Argentina finished second behind Australia and was seen as a favorite ahead of time for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Netherlands was allowed to skip the intermediate round as group winner. The team of national coach Jeroen Delmee had a flawless first round with victories over Malaysia, New Zealand and Chile and closed the group stage with a nice goal difference: 22-0.
South Korea is no stranger to national coach Delmee. In 2000 he was part of the Orange squad that won Olympic gold at the expense of South Korea. The last international match between the two countries was in 2015, when the Netherlands won 2-6 in the Hockey World League.
The Netherlands is chasing India’s first world title since 1998. At the last two World Cups, the Orange reached the final, but lost in the final battle. In 2014, Australia was a size too big in The Hague and four years later, Belgium lost after shoot-outs.
The quarterfinal between the Netherlands and South Korea starts on Wednesday at 12:00 (Dutch time). The winner of that meeting will play in the semi-finals against reigning world champions Belgium or New Zealand.