Skipper Muhammad Saqlain came up with a goal-line save seconds before close to help Pakistan clinch a 3-2 win against the Netherlands in a 5-8 positions classification match of the 11th FIH men's hockey World Cup on Friday.
The Dutch, champions in 1973, 1990 and 1998, paid the price for their complacency and arrogance against a team that made the best of the offerings.
Four times champion Pakistan will now take on England, who beat New Zealand 4-3, in the play-off for 5-6 positions while the Dutch face the Kiwis to decide 7-8 slots.
In a rousing encounter that saw rival players nearly coming to blows in the second session, Pakistan played a disciplined game and did well to safeguard a one-goal lead.
Goals from penalty corners by Shakeel Abbasi (11th) and Sohail Abbas (33rd), followed a 36th minute strike by Zubair Muhammad from a lightning counter-attack, gave Pakistan a 3-0 lead as the Dutch, playing rather tamely, struggled to find their moorings.
However, the third Pakistani goal seemed to have sparked the Dutch to life and they scored twice in a five-minute spell with Rob Reckers picking a rebound in 42nd and Taeke Taekema converting a penalty corner in the 47th.