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 March 3, 2002 | 1930 IST

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Germany move to the top
with win over Holland

Bjorn Michel's goal 13 minutes from time enabled Germany beat the Netherlands 1-0 and move to the top of Pool A in the men's hockey World Cup on Sunday.

Germany have 15 points while the Netherlands have 13. Argentina and Pakistan have 12 each.

The Germans now need only a draw with Pakistan on March 5 to make the semi-finals.

The Dutch too should make the grade as they have South Africa to play in their last pool match.

Germany made good use of the long ball and relied on the break to splinter through the compact Dutch defence. Florian Kunz quite often found open spaces as he put Oliver Domke through. The long passes kept the Dutch defence guessing. In fact, Germany should have won by at least three goals but they were unlucky to see the post come in the way of good efforts from Domke and Sascha Reinelt in either half.

The all-important goal came after Christoph Beckmann earned a disputed penalty-corner for Germany -- their third -- in the 57th minute. Bjorn Michel, with a drag flick, found the top of the net.

It was Michel's fifth goal of the tournament and he is just one behind top scorer Jorge Lombi of Argentina.

South Africa post first win

South Africa posted their first victory of the tournament, beating Belgium 3-0.

The victory took them to sixth position in Pool A, ahead of New Zealand.

The Africans, who scored a last second goal to pick their first point in the 2-2 draw against Spain on Saturday, continued their good form against a team who have now lost all six previous matches.

Greg Nicol, South Africa's most prolific scorer, started the ball rolling with a goal off a penalty-corner six minutes before the break.

Justin King and Mike Cullen - who was voted the Player of the Tournament in the 1st men's Champions Challenge last December, chipped in with a goal a piece in the second session.

Belgium may have a chance to grab some consolation points when they meet New Zealand on March 5.

South Africa meet the Netherlands as the last preliminary round opponent on the same day.

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