Kookaburras shoot their way into semifinals

The Kookaburras are within sight of gold after goalkeeper Andrew Charter helped turn the tables on the Netherlands in a tense men's hockey Olympic quarter-final win.

Taken to a shootout after scores were locked 2-2 at fulltime in sauna-like conditions in Tokyo on Sunday, Charter saved the first three Dutch attempts.

Blake Govers, Flynn Ogilvie and then Tim Brand all held their nerve in their one-on-one contests to put Australia within a win of the gold medal game.

They will play Germany, who beat defending Olympic champions Argentina 3-1 earlier in the day, in a Tuesday semi-final.

The victory was extra sweet given they were dumped from the same stage by the Dutch 4-0 in Rio five years ago, while the Netherlands also prevailed in a 2018 World Cup semi-final shootout after scores were locked at 2-2.

"Absolutely amazing to get into a semi-final at the Olympics ... it wasn't our best game but we grinded for that one," Brand said.

"And we've been practising shootouts for a long time after the World Cup three years ago, so to get a win there was very pleasing."

Chasing a second men's hockey gold medal to follow their Athens 2004 triumph, the world No.1 side had dominated the group stage with four wins and a draw.

They looked on track to continue that after Tom Wickham finished a clever Brand cross for the opening goal in a half they controlled thanks to 64 per cent of possession.

But the Dutch hit another gear in the third quarter, rewarded when Mink van der Weerden's drag flick snuck through Charter's stoic defence.

Wickham had his second goal just minutes later, Brand again involved in the build-up, but a yellow card to Dylan Martin for a professional foul suddenly changed the complexion.

The Netherlands quickly won a penalty corner and Jeroen Hertzberger made no mistake with his penalty stroke after a shot had hit a defender's body on the line to deny a certain goal.

The teams played out a tense final 10 minutes before Charter, who had made a brilliant stick save in the opening minutes, proved impossible to get by in the shootout.

"He's a very experienced goalkeeper and plays big in big occasions," Australian coach Colin Batch said of the goalkeeper.

Batch said the team had completely re-imagined their defensive set-up since the poor Rio showing.

"We believe we have a number of ways of playing and tactically we've held up over the last couple of years," he said of the changes since 2016 that have seen them climb back to the top of the world rankings.

"But it's a huge challenge ahead of us now, the Germans."