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Holland book berth in final

December 08, 2004 16:23 IST

Holland got themselves one step closer to claiming a hat-trick of titles as they beat Spain 4-2 and booked a berth in the final of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Lahore on Wednesday.

Holland, winners of the last two editions of the event, prevailed over Spain, who attacked relentlessly but failed to find the back of the net more than a couple of times.

The win, their fourth from as many matches, took the Dutch to the top of the table with 12 points while Spain remained on nine from as many matches.

In Sunday's final, Holland would face either Spain or Pakistan. The hosts, currently at third place with six points, are playing India later on Wednesday and Spain on Thursday.

As was in the match against Pakistan on Tuesday, Holland were on the backfoot for most part of the match but the difference was that they scored whenever they got a chance, where as their rivals faltered more often.

In the first 10 minutes itself, Spain, starting with a different game plan, had a couple of clear opportunities but first Alex Fabregas and then Pau Quemada failed to put the ball in.

"The strategy was to give the best shot in the first few minutes and go for the kill straightaway. It looked like working as we forced them make changes in their tactics with Jeroen Delmee going back to center defence. But then we failed to convert the chances," Spanish coach Maurits Hendriks said after the match.

"Spain had the control but we are lucky to score the goals. Goalkeeper (Guus Vogels) stood good in the face of some good Spanish attack," Holland captain Jeroen Delmee said.

After several failed attempts, Spain finally reduced the margin at the stroke of half time when Santiago Freixa slammed home with a stunning effort -- a revere flick that gave Vogels no chance at all.

Spain, who played their best games in the second half in their earlier three matches, troubled the Holland defence after the break but lacked the finishing touches to level the score.

Klaver struck in the 45th minute to add to the pressure on the Spaniards who though threatened to bounce back through Quemada failed to draw parity.

Spain were left with no chance but to suffer their first defeat of the tournament when Klaver struck his third goal just a minute before close.

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