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Pakistan qualify for 2010 Hockey World Cup in India

Veteran penalty-corner specialist Sohail Abbas scored twice as Pakistan thrashed Japan 3-1 in the finals of a Qualifying tourney to book a berth in next year’s Hockey World Cup in India.

Pakistan joined Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Korea, Netherlands, South Africa and Spain in clinching a spot in the mega-event.

Two more spots will go to the winner of the second qualifying event, currently underway in Invercargill, New Zealand. The third qualifying event will start next week in Quilmes, Argentina.

Pakistan went on the offensive from the very start but Japanese goalkeeper Katsuya Takase thwarted their initial attempts.

After the aggressive start, Pakistan settled down and tried to take control with Waseem Ahmed making his presence felt in the midfield.

Pakistan opened the scoring through Abdul Haseem Khan in the 12th minute after a decisive run by Shakeel Abbasi.

They maintained the pressure, but Japan did not give up either and it took a penalty-corner in the 24th minute by the ever-reliable Abbas to increase the lead.

Japan reduced the gap through a clever penalty-corner by their captain Kazuhiro Tsubouchi, who flicked the ball out of reach of Salman Akbar in the Pakistani goal.

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