The Netherlands secured their spot in the women's final of the EuroHockey Championships with a narrow 1-0 win over Germany ©EuroHockey Championships

Olympic gold medallists The Netherlands secured their place in the final of the women’s EuroHockey Championships with a narrow 1-0 victory over defending champions Germany at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

The world number one ranked side broke the deadlock after six minutes when Ginella Zerbo kept a cool head in front of goal to put her side ahead following good work from Ellen Hoog.

Despite scoring early, The Netherlands were unable to wrap up the contest which made for a tense finale, but Germany couldn’t find the elusive equaliser as the Dutch squeezed through to Sunday’s (August 30) final.

They will go on to meet England for gold after Lily Owsley's goal eight minutes from time handed the hosts a 2-1 win against Spain in a physical match-up.

“It was a tough game,” Dutchwoman Margot van Geefen said.

“Semi-finals are always exciting and close but we won and are in the final again.

“Now it’s time to look ahead to winning the tournament.”

After Zerbo’s opener, the Dutch went in search of a second goal but were frequently denied by the heroics of German goalkeeper Yvonne Frank, who thwarted a decent strike from Valerie Magis shortly after they had taken the lead.

Germany responded with successive penalty corners as they attempted to level proceedings but Charlotte Staphenhorst was twice denied by a resolute Dutch defence, who kept both her efforts at bay.

Maartje Paumen was inches away from doubling The Netherlands’ advantage as her drag-flick from a penalty corner crashed against the crossbar in the final minute of the opening quarter.

The Netherlands continued their dominance of the match in the second quarter but found goalkeeper Frank in fine form as she saved from both Kelly Jonker and Maria Verschoor.

Having struggled in the first half, Germany came out for the second with renewed vigour as they began to launch a stream of attacks to try and force their way back into the match.

Lily Owsley snatched a late winner to send England through to the final at the expense of Spain
Lily Owsley snatched a late winner to send England through to the final at the expense of Spain ©EuroHockey Championships

But as the game neared its conclusion, it was the Dutch who looked the more likely to score and they managed to see out a victory which guarantees an improvement from the 2013 EuroHockey Championships in Boom, Belgium, where they won bronze by beating the hosts 3-1.

In the other semi-final, England got off to a blistering start as Alex Danson, who netted a hat-trick in their last Pool B encounter with Germany, edged her side in front by following up captain Kate Richardson-Walsh's penalty corner.

The home side, backed by a raucous crowd inside the venue, wasted several decent chances to double their lead and they were made to pay when Georgina Oliva levelled proceedings with a rasping effort in the second half.

But England, beaten finalists in 2013, had the last laugh as Owsley finished well from close range to send her side through to the tournament's showpiece contest.

Italy secured a vital point in their bid to remain in European hockey's top tier as they drew 1-1 with Poland
Italy secured a vital point in their bid to remain in European hockey's top tier as they drew 1-1 with Poland ©EuroHockey Championships

In the classification group, Italy salvaged a vital point from their clash with Poland thanks to Elisabetta Pacella’s last gasp equaliser.

Defeat for either side would have pushed them closer to relegation to the EuroHockey Nations Trophy and the Italians looked to be heading that way when Captain Marlena Rybacha bagged the opener after nine minutes.

But Pacella was able to deflect home a late leveller to keep their dream of staying in European hockey’s top tier alive.

In the other classification match to take place today, Belgium beat Scotland 1-0 as Louise Versavel’s first-minute goal ensured they retained their EuroHockey Championships status.

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