THE Azlan Shah Cup will be an all-Oceania final or the first time in 24 Editions when world champions Australia meet their neighbours New Zealand in Ipoh today.
New Zealand will be playing in only their second final today, and their only gold medal was in 2012. Australia have a better pedigree in the Azlan Shah Cup as they will be gunning for their ninth title.
The Kiwis held South Korea to a 3-3 draw in a thriller yesterday, and qualified with three wins, one draw and one defeat.
And Malaysia knew they were doomed to play in the fifth-sixth bracket after the first match between India and Australia produced an upset. India beat Australia 4-2 with a hat-trick from Chandanda Thimmaiah (23rd, 32nd, 69th) while V. Raghunath (first) scored the other.
Australia's goals were scored by Daniel Beale (14th) and Matt Gohdes (53rd).
The win will see India play South Korea for the bronze medal.
"We treated this match like a semi-final, ahead of tomorrow's (Sunday) final but things did not go as planned. But you're bound to have a bad match in any tournament, and I'm glad it was today and not in the final," said Australian coach Graham Reid.
India coach Paul van Ass was elated: "Like I said we played well in every match, except for Malaysia, but the results were not there because we were not sharp in the semi-circle. And this result (Australia win) shows that we are capable to take on the best."
Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles reached a milestone of 250 caps yesterday. He's a three-time Olympian with one gold and two bronze medals under his belt. He also helped Australia win two World Cups, and was the 2014 International Player of the Year.
New Zealand coach Colin Batch predicted a tough final: "Australia lost to India but that does not mean a thing to our game against them in the final. We know its going to be tough, but we have our plans, and we are ready to face them."
As for Malaysia, their match against Canada yesterday was purely academic as both sides will meet again today for the fifth-sixth classification. Malaysia beat Canada 4-1 yesterday with goals from Haziq Samsul (fifth, 43rd), Nabil Fiqri (sixth) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (38th).
The Canada consolation was scored by Matthew Sarmento (40th).
P W D L F A Pts
AUSTRALIA 5 4 0 1 20 9 12
N ZEALAND 5 3 1 1 15 9 10
S KOREA 5 2 2 1 13 13 8
INDIA 5 2 1 2 14 12 7
MALAYSIA 5 2 0 3 13 13 6
CANADA 5 0 0 5 5 24 0
RESULTS: Australia 2 India 4, South Korea 3 New Zealand 3, Malaysia 4 Canada 1.
SUNDAY: Final -- Australia v New Zealand (8.45pm); Third-Fourth: India v South Korea (6.10pm); Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia v Canada (3.40pm).