MALAYSIA will open accounts against New Zealand in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6, after a small reshuffle in the groupings.
Earlier, Malaysia had Pakistan, England and South Africa for company in Group D, but Pakistan were moved to Group A, while New Zealand were the new replacements.
"We received the new fixtures from FIH (International Hockey Federation) and the only change in our Group was that New Zealand came to our Group, and Pakistan were moved to Group A," said national Juniors team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
After opening accounts against the Kiwis, Malaysia next play South Africa on Dec 7, and wrap up the Group fixtures against England on Dec 9.
The top-two teams from each group advances to the quarter-finals, and if Malaysia make the cut, they will play against Group C opponents which are likely either
Netherlands or hosts India. The other team in Group C are South Korea and Canada.
"Going by form, in the quarter-finals we are likely to meet India or Netherlands and this would be tough encounters either way.
"But we are prepared to finish among the top-five, and so have to beat even the hosts if it comes to that," said Mirnawan.
Malaysia drew 3-3 with India in the pool stages of the recent Sultan of Johor Cup, but were whipped 3-0 in the final.
But first, the Malaysian players need to beat all three teams in their group to top the standings, before planning for either India or Netherlands in the knock-out stage.
GROUP A -- Germany, Pakistan, Belgium, Egypt.
GROUP B --Australia, Spain, Argentina, France.
GROUP C -- Netherlands, India, South Korea, Canada.
GROUP D -- Malaysia, England, South Africa, New Zealand.