The Netherlands beat Australia in a shoot-out after a thrilling match ended 2-2 ©Getty Images

Belgium will play The Netherlands in the final of the International Hockey Federation Men's World Cup in Bhubaneswar in India after two contrasting last four ties today.

The Belgians made it into their third major final in as many years with a 6-0 thumping of England at the Kalinga Stadium, before European gold medallists The Netherlands surpassed the defending champions Australia 4-3 in a shoot-out, after the match itself ended 2-2.

In the first match of the day Belgium played to a level England simply could not match, meaning they crash out at the semi-final stage for the third World Cup in succession.

Striker Tom Boon gave Belgium the lead in the eighth minute with a deflection past George Pinner in the England goal, with Boon almost doubling the lead shortly afterwards when a diving deflection attempt saw the ball hit the crossbar.

Belgium did eventually double their lead before half-time when Simon Gougnard, whose father passed away only yesterday, pounced on a penalty corner rebound to smash the ball home.

It could have been 3-0 to the Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists shortly afterwards but Sebastian Drockier wasted a brilliant chance from close range.

England, who were looking to reach their first World Cup final since 1986, upped their game in the third quarter but still went further behind when Cedric Charlier finished off a rapid counter attack to all but end the contest.

Belgium thrashed England 6-0 to cruise into the final ©Getty Images
Belgium thrashed England 6-0 to cruise into the final ©Getty Images

More misery was then piled on England by two penalty corner goals from Alexander Hendrickx either side of the final quarter break, before the sixth and final goal came from Sebastian Dockier.

Speaking after the game, Belgium's captain Thomas Briels said they worked "really hard" for the win.

"It feels amazing to be in the final," he said.

"It was really our big goal to be in the last game of the tournament and hopefully we can do one more step and play even better than today.

"We really hope we can bring the Cup home."

The second semi-final between The Netherlands and Australia was a repeat of the last final in 2014.

In what turned out to be an epic encounter it was the Dutch who took the lead when Jonas de Geus ran around the back of the Kookaburras' defence before finding Glenn Schuurman who finished nicely from close range.

Seve van Ass then made it 2-0 in the second quarter when his attempted cross was accidentally diverted into the goal by Tim Howard.

Not lying down, however, Australia's response came quickly, with Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak forced into numerous saves to keep the score 2-0 at half time.

Then, after the break, the match continued at a ferocious pace with action at both ends.

Pirmin Blaak was imperious in the Dutch goal ©Getty Images
Pirmin Blaak was imperious in the Dutch goal ©Getty Images

Australia pulled a goal back when a slap from Howard at the top of the circle found the net, while Blaak, who was eventually named man-of-the-match, made yet more saves including one from Flynn Ogilvie who looked almost certain to score.

Australia's equaliser eventually came with just 26 seconds of the match remaining, when Eddie Ockenden intercepted an aerial pass and knocked a first time shot towards the goal.

It may have been saved again, only for a deflection off the Dutch defence to knock it through Blaak's legs and into the net.

With the match tense enough already, the shoot-out then became locked at 3-3 when both teams missed twice.

Entering into sudden death, Jeroen Hertzberger then made no mistake, piling the pressure on Daniel Beale who then failed to score, ending Australia's title defence.

Once again Blaak was the hero, standing tall to make a superb stick save and put the Oranje into the final.

"It was great, I think we deserve to win," Hertzberger said afterwards.

"We made it very hard for ourselves but at the end of the day we kept our focus and deserved to win the game.

"To be honest, the shoot-outs were obviously a bit nerve-breaking but there's also something amazing about it.

"I had real confidence that we were going to win."

So while today's two winners will go head-to-head for gold tomorrow, England and Australia will also face off for bronze, with their match starting first at 4.30pm local time.