The Netherlands defeated Cuba to reach the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic ©Getty Images

The Netherlands and Japan both secured their places in the World Baseball Classic semi-finals after earning victories over Cuba and Israel respectively at the Tokyo Dome today.

Cuba had to beat the Dutch team to stand any chance of qualifying for the next round but they were behind early on after their European opponents scored three unanswered runs in the first innings.

The Netherlands then added a further nine runs in the following three innings to put the contest past the Cubans.

When Cuba eventually made it onto the scoreboard in the fifth innings with a single, the Dutch team added another of their own.

The contest was then brought to an end at the finish of the seventh innings when The Netherlands added another single to give them an overall 14-1 win.

Former Major League Baseball player Wladimir Balentien hit two home runs for the Dutch team in a superb individual performance.

The 32-year-old had spells with the Seattle Mariners between 2007 and 2009 before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2009, where he stayed until November 2010 when he signed for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

"All I asked was they not take anything for granted and that they just play hard, the way we did against Israel," The Netherlands' manager Hensley Meulens said.

"We feel great.

"We've played great all tournament.

"We could actually be 6-0 right now.

"We feel great about our chances."

Japan beat Israel 8-3 to advance to the last four of the tournament ©Getty Images
Japan beat Israel 8-3 to advance to the last four of the tournament ©Getty Images

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo sparked an emphatic sixth inning with a solo home run as Japan maintained their 100 per cent record so far and secured their progression with an 8-3 win over Israel.

The hosts scored five runs in the sixth inning after being frustrated by the Israelis in the opening stages.

Israel, who were making their debut at the tournament this year, won all three of their group stage matches but failed to carry that form into the the second round.

Japan then added three runs in the eighth before Israel posted three of their own in the ninth innings.

However, the deficit proved too big to overturn.

"I am so pleased that we won," said Japan manager Hiroki Kokubo, who took charge after Japan lost to Puerto Rico in the semi-finals of the 2013 edition of the tournament.

Today's action was then complete when the United States defeated Venezuela 4-2 in the second match of Group F at the Petco Park in California.

The semi-finals are due to take place on March 20 and 21 before the final brings the competition to a close on March 22.

All three of those matches are set to take place at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.