MALAYSIA will open against Austria in the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill, New Zealand on Nov 7, and there is room for only one bad day.
Six teams will be involved in the Qualifier for the New Delhi World Cup next year, and the stakes have been set at winners take all.
Malaysia have classified New Zealand and China as their biggest hurdles, and will play the Kiwis midway, while China are the team's final fixture.
"It looks like an encore of the Japan Olympic Qualifier (for the Beijing Olympics), as we only have room for one bad day, while our last match against China might just decide if we play in the final the next day.
"There are plenty of rest days in between for recovery in this tournament, and we are looking at a top-two finishing, which will give us a shot at the gold medal," said team manager George Koshy.
In the Japan Olympic Qualifier, Malaysia needed to win and Japan a draw to play in the final against Germany. After taking a 3-1 lead, Malaysia crumbled and the match ended 3-3.
Germany went on to beat Japan, and then win the Olympic gold.
Meanwhile, South Korea have declined an invitation to play against Malaysia in a Three-Nation, and the plan now is to hold Test matches against Australia.
"I spoke to Australia today (yesterday) and they told me that they can only give an answer in the next few days. It would be good to play Australia in October, as we can learn much from them," said George.
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING FIXTURES -- Nov 7: China v Scotland, New Zealand v Wales, Malaysia v Austria; Nov 8: Scotland v New Zealand, Wales v Malaysia, Austria v China.
Nov 10: Austria v Scotland, Wales v China, New Zealand v Malaysia; Nov 12: Malaysia v Scotland, Austria v Wales, China v New Zealand.
Nov 14: Scotland v Wales, New Zealand v Austria, China v Malaysia; Nov 15: Final.