Spain completes last four line up, pip Korea 2-1

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Beijing, Aug 19 (UNI) Spain ended Asian challenge in the Olympic men's hockey as they pipped Korea 2-1 to complete the last four line up for the tournament here tonight.

In the morning playing to a plan world champion Germany over ran New Zealand 3-1 to become the third team to qualify for the semi-finals.

Holland thrashed Pakistan 4-2, while Australia were held to a 3-3 draw by Britain in other matches of the day.

Spain topped the Pool A with 12 points followed by Germany with 11 points, Holland with four wins and a draw aggregated 13 points and emerged pool B leader while Australia with 11 points came second.

In the semi-finals slated to be held on Thursday, Spain will play Australia and Germany will take on Holland.

Santiago Freixa scored a goal in each half for Spain, the first came in the 13th minute and second in the 53rd minute off a penalty corner conversion.

Korea reduced the margin a minute before the final whistle through Yoon Sung Hoon.

In the last matches of the day, Canada beat South Africa 5-3 while Belgium overcame China 2-1.

Earlier three time winner Pakistan ended their miserable league campaign on a losing note going down to Holland 2-4.

Pakistan ended with two wins and three defeats while Holland collected 13 points from four wins and one draw.

Needing a win to keep their Olympic Gold medal dream alive, Germany hit New Zealand hard from the moment the first whistle sounded, forcing their opponents deep into their own half.

It took just five minutes for the defensive line to crack, when Timo Wess scored a powerful penalty corner to make the score 1-0.

It was a captain's goal from Wess, who produced the goods just when his side needed him most. Four minutes later the score moved to 2-0, when Matthias Witthau brilliantly deflected the ball into the goal from the top of the circle.

New Zealand had their best chance of the half when Phillip Burrows picked up the ball on the back line, beat a couple of players and sent his pushed shot just wide of the right post.

Eventually though, their hard work paid off when Hayden Shaw slammed home a drag-flicked penalty corner to make the score 2-1 in the 46th minute.

However, Florian Keller moved in from the right and struck a superb third goal for Germany with 15 minutes to go, killing off the New Zealand challenge.

It looked that Pakistan had saved its best for the last game of the pool, but even that was not good enough to rustle up a win against the Netherlands who signed off in style.

The green shirts, already out of the top four, thus bowed out 2-4, and with only two wins against three losses from five league games, it is left to fight it out in the middle cluster of four.

For the first time, there was some measure of rhythm, method and fluency in Pakisan's attack and its defence almost at par with the better outfits.

In the first half, Pakistan was definitely the dominant side and went into the break with a 1-0 lead through a brute of a strike by short corner specialist Muhammad Imran that sailed low and at lightning pace to smash into the backboard.

Holland came back through that most fabulous of playmakers, Teun de Nooijer, setting up two goals with Taeke Taekema, already the leading scorer in this Olympic tournament, took his tally to 10 goals from another brace to literally put the game away and pile still more misery on Pakistan.

The Dutch equaliser came through a run down the left flank by Nooijer and laying a pass for Matthijs Brower to slam it home from the centre in the 41st minute.

Two hot, precision penalty corner conversions 12 minutes apart, in 46th and 58th, Taekema shot Holland into a double lead.

Pakistan's mid-fielder pulled one down with a short corner deflection into the net but that was neutralised by another Nooijer effort that was slammed home by Jeroen Hertzberger with a minute to go.


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