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England finished fifth and completed a highly productive tournament in a day reserved for playoff and classification matches to determine the lower placings at the BDO Hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach.
It is the highest placing for England since a similar result at the 1990 World Cup in Lahore and came thanks to a pair of late goals in their classification matches over the past two days.
As they had done yesterday against New Zealand, England persevered when extra time loomed and were rewarded for their outstanding effort with the winner against Pakistan with three minutes remaining.
In the other playoff match completed today, the Netherlands ended a disappointing World Cup in seventh position after easily disposing of the New Zealand challenge.
The Dutch created a huge number of scoring chances but some great goalkeeping, desperate defence and the left and right post denied them from taking the lead until late in the first half.
More goals followed in the second 35 minutes as the Netherlands remained in control and limited New Zealand’s options in attack.
In the classification matches to decide positions 9-12, Japan and Argentina were victorious to ensure they will certainly avoid last place.
The pair will clash in the ninth place playoff tomorrow, with South Africa and India to meet in the match to decide the bottom two places.
In the first match of day 10, Japan exploited South Africa defensive problems and recorded a three-goal victory to provide an opportunity to finish in ninth position.
Japan were always in control of the scoreboard and were never seriously challenged after opening a two-goal lead midway through the first half.
In a dull encounter, Argentina then edged India by a single goal, with the match notable for the 150th goal of the tournament which was scored by Arjun Halappa.
After falling behind to Halappa’s goal after just three minutes, Argentina’s reply did not arrive until after half time when they found some scoring form.
After neither team could gain the upper hand, Matias Vila scored the winning goal from a penalty corner with eight minutes to go.
If India fall to South Africa tomorrow, it will equal their lowest ever finish at a World Cup. Their other 12th placing came in London in 1986.
All attention turns to the 2006 BDO Hockey World Cup Final which will be played between Australia and Germany at 15:00 local time tomorrow.
The world number one meets the defending world champions in an enticing rematch of the decider in Kuala Lumpur four years ago.
Germany have won their past two meeting against Australia and will be hard to topple with a large and vocal crowd expected to will them to victory.
Only Pakistan has won the World Cup twice in succession (1978, 1982) with the Netherlands are the only team in history to win the world crown on home soil.
The bronze medal match will also be decided tomorrow with Korea against Spain.
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