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 March 8, 2002 | 0020 IST
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Aussies' pace too hot for the Dutch

A display of pacy, free-flowing hockey took Australia into the World Cup hockey final with a 4-1 win over holders The Netherlands on Thursday.

They will meet pre-tournament favourites Germany, who earlier booked their place in Saturday's final with a 3-2 win over South Korea.

It will be Australia's fourth final appearance and a chance to win the cup for the second time following their victory in London in 1986.

Germany have appeared in the final just once when they finished runners-up to Pakistan in 1982.

Australia caught the Dutch off-guard with two sucker-punch goals in the first 15 minutes through Scott Webster and Jamie Dwyer.

The setbacks sparked the Dutch into life as chances came and went at both ends.

The Dutch had 13 penalty corners, forcing Australian keeper Lachlan Dreher to produce a string of outstanding saves.

But as the Netherlands misfired in front of goal, Australia struck on the breakaway through Matthew Smith in the 40th minute and Dwyer again in the 51st.

Menno Booij scored a consolation goal for the cup holders six minutes from time.

"They scored two early goals and the match was over. We hardly deserved to win today," said Dutch coach Joost Bellaart.

ANGRY DANCER

His Australian counterpart Barry Dancer said his keeper's performance was "outstanding" but was less complimentary about the rest of the team.

"We did not defend the circle well and gave away too many penalty corners. If we do that against Germany, we will be beaten," Dancer said.

Germany scored through Bjorn Emmering, Christoph Bechmann and Matthas Witthaus after Korea had gone ahead through Yeo Woon Kon.

The Asians struck an equaliser from Kim Kyung Seok before Witthaus netted the winner.

"We had good ball movement and perhaps had more chances to score but it was very tough," conceded German coach Bernhard Peters.

In the day's play-off matches, Pakistan recorded a comfortable 2-1 win over hosts Malaysia in the five-eight placings group.

Argentina needed a golden goal from Jorge Lombi to defeat England. Lombi had put his side ahead but England's Danny Hall equalised to take the game into overtime.

The results mean that on Friday, Pakistan play Argentina for fifth and sixth place while England meet Malaysia to decide seventh and eighth places.

Sohail Abbas and Shahbaz Ahmed scored Pakistan's goals while Tajol Rosli pulled one back for Malaysia.

Skipper Baljit Dhillon, Jugraj Singh and Deepak Thakur scored in India's 3-0 win over Spain.

India now play New Zealand who beat Japan 7-6 on penalty strokes after overtime ended at 3-3. New Zealand's goals came from Parag Umesh, Simon Towns and Philip Burrows while Kenji Asai, Takahiko Yamahori and Naohiko Tobia netted for Japan during normal play. Japan now meet Spain.

South Africa will play Belgium for places 13-14 on Friday after they dispatched winless Cuba 5-1.

Justin King, Greg Nicol (two), Gregg Clark and Emile Smith scored for the Africans while Edel Sayas got one back for Cuba.

Marc Coudron scored both goals for Belgium in a 2-1 win over Poland whose consolation came from Krzysztof Witczak in the 54th minute.

The play-off matches continue on Friday before the beaten semifinalists meet on Saturday ahead of the final.

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