Kuantan, Malaysia:Asian Games title holder South Korea defeated Pakistan 1-0 with a penalty corner by Kim Byung-hoon to win the 8th Asia Cup and claim an automatic World Cup berth.
Kim scored in his third penalty corner attempt when he sent a powerful drive into the net in the 66th minute.
It was South Korea's third Asia Cup title after also winning the tournament in Hiroshima (1993) and Kuala Lumpur (1999).
South Korea coach Cho Myung-jun left out four key players including main flicker Jang Jong-hyun from the team. But his decision was justified when the fifth-ranked team proved to be a class above the rest in the tournament despite the absences.
"It is great to win here without some of my best players," said Cho, in his first international assignment as head coach for the Korea hockey team.
"We came to Kuantan to win and my players did it. We were better than the rest because of our tactical superiority. We are happy to earn the World Cup," Cho added.
Pakistan started the game brightly, forcing back-to-back penalty corners in the opening five minutes but Sohail Abbas failed to convert either opportunity.
In the 23rd minute, Muhammad Tariq missed a chance to give Pakistan the lead when he had only the Korean goalkeeper, Lee Myung-ho, to beat.
Rehan Butt had an opportunity to open the scoring but his powerful drive was padded away by Lee in the 35th minute.
Korea did not appear to be in the game and failed to create any opportunities in the first half.
However, it was a different side in the second half and forced two penalty corners in the 43rd and 47th minutes.
Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akhbar saved both attempts from Kim before the Korean scored the winner in the 66th minute.
Meanwhile, China defeated Malaysia 7-6 on penalties in a game that ended 3-3 after extra time to claim the bronze medal.
Sun Tian Jun converted his sudden death penalty, after Nabil Fiqri Mohammad Nor failed to score, to hand China the victory.
China coach Guo Jie said his counterattacking game plan worked well for his players.
"The win proves that my players have great ability to win big matches and it's a good feeling to deny the host the bronze medal," Guo said.
He added that his team will tour Europe to prepare for the World Cup qualifying matches in November.
Malaysia scored their goals through Ismail Abu in the first minute, Chua Boon Huat (31st) and Nabil Fiqri (64th).
Captain Song Yi scored a brace for China in the 18th and 47th minutes while Jiang Xi Shang scored the other in the 67th.