TICKETS for the Malaysia-Ireland match on Saturday have all been sold out, as it is expected to be the crunch match which will decide the fate of both teams in the Olympic Qualifier.
The fact that Malaysia has played in nine Olympics and declined the 1980 Moscow Olympics, while Ireland have been waiting for the last 104 years to play hockey at its highest level, has not gone unnoticed.
The Malaysian students here, on their own initiative, have snatched up 100 tickets for the match, while the National Sports Council have bought another 200 to be distributed to Malaysians living in Ireland.
The support will not be lacking when Malaysia play the Green Machine, as even the Malaysian Hockey Confederation will be bringing a 23-strong cheering squad for the South Korea and Ireland matches.
Malaysia have never won three matches in a row in any tournament, and they look set to break the jinx when they play Ukraine today, but after that the real tests await them.
Off the field, the fans are ready, but the team does not look 100 per cent confident and they need to change their mind-set in the final warm-up against Ukraine.
The strikers have only shown patches of brilliance, and missing are their darting runs and counter-attacks which were evident during the run-up tours.
Malaysia's best striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin has only played 50 per cent to his capabilities, but was still named as the best player against Russia.
He seem to lack his usual confidence, and hesitates when given the ball, someting which this scribe has never seen him do since the 2005 Junior World Cup in Rotterdam.
Faizal Saari has been more confident in his attacks than Tengku Ahmad, and is fast turing into a realiable hand even though he is only 21 years old.
His brother, Fitri, is only 19 and both of them had a good understanding against Russia and it looks like they might just turn out to be the twin-attack Malaysia need to win the remaining three matches and enter the final.