Olympic [ Images ] champions Germany [ Images ] and Australia [ Images ] will clash in the final of the 12th men's hockey World Cup after contrasting victories in the semi-finals at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium in Delhi [ Images ] on Thursday.
While Germany, the defending champions, stayed on course for a historic hat-trick of World Cup crowns with a 4-1 victory over England [ Images ] in the first semi-final, the Aussies, who lost to the Germans in the last two editions of hockey's showpiece event, got the better of The Netherlands 2-1 in a closely-contested match later.
Australia led 2-0 through goals from Luke Doerner (27th minute) and Glenn Turner (55th minute) before the Dutch pulled one back in the 58th minute through a Taeke Taekema penalty stroke goal that swelled his goal tally to seven and made him the highest scorer in the tournament. It was also his 20th goal in World Cups.
Germany, who won the crown in 2002 and 2006, were the dominant side in the clash of European powerhouses and made England play the catch-up game by taking a 3-1 lead by half-time.
For the Germans, unbeaten thus far in the tournament, Jean Marco Montag (sixth minute), Oliver Korn (11th), Martin Haner (31st) and Linus Butt (60th) were on target, while European champions England got their only goal through Richard Smith in the 19th minute.
Earlier, Pakistan lost 2-3 to Canada on a golden goal and finished last in the 12-team tournament.
Germany dominated the first half during which they forced four penalty-corners. Matthias Witthaus was impressive upfront, making several dangerous runs into the England striking circle.
England, who were playing in their only second semi-final in a World Cup after 1986 at home, got just one penalty-corner in the first half. They came back strongly after the breather and attacked repeatedly, with James Tindall making some fine moves inside the opposition circle, but it was the Germans who scored the only goal of the second session.
The double defending champions will take on the winner of the other semi-final between Australia and the Netherlands.
Germany took lead in the sixth minute when Jean Marco Montag's drag-flick found the roof of the net, England goalkeeper James Fair's stick just grazing the ball.
They made it 2-0 with a terrific goal five minutes later. Oliver Korn deflected the ball into the England goal from close range off a hard hit from outside the striking circle.
England pulled one back in the 19th minute from their first penalty-corner with Richard Smith cleanly pushing the ball to the right of German goalkeeper Tim Jessulat.
Three minutes after the England goal, Matthias Witthaus almost made it 3-1 but his shot off the rebound of a drag-flick from Jan-Marco Mnotag was saved by goalkeeper Fair.
Germany then produced a fine variation in their penalty-corner conversion and made it 3-1 three minutes from the breather from their fourth penalty-corner. Martin Haner flicked the ball high up into the England net.
England made several attacks in the second session but failed to give the finishing touches to them.
On the other hand, Germany scored from the only penalty-corner they got in the second session. Linus Butt slammed a rebound home following captain Maximillian Muller's flick in the 60th minute.
England could have reduced the margin in the 65th minute but Alastair Wilson's shot from close range was blocked by Germany goalkeeper Tim Jessulat.