COACH Tai Beng Hai was smiling, but it looked more like grinding his teeth, after Malaysia edged China 3-2 in the World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium on Sunday.
His answers were simple and diplomatic, but one could sense he was struggling to keep his anger in check.
That anger almost came to a boil when a volunteer refused him entry into the interview area, and after an exchange of words, he smiled for the camera again.
"Well, it was our first match and there were some shaky moments but that is to be expected. The important part is that we won three points," said Beng Hai.
Youngster Haziq Shamsul, 21, who scored the super second goal to give Malaysia breathing space, was much more composed even though he went through a rough period one month before the World League when he lost his mother.
"I am just happy to help my team-mates beat China. This match was supposed to be easier, but China gave us a very good fight and I am just happy that we landed the three points no matter what the score," said Haziq.
Haziq was among the promising juniors side which beat South Korea in the quarter-finals of the Junior World Cup in New Delhi and took Malaysia into the semi-finals -- a feat last achieved in 1982 in the Kuala Lumpur Junior World Cup.
And Haziq's take on the next opponent Ireland: "For me they are just another team which we need to beat if we want to play in the Olympics. I will again give my best, and I am confident my mates will do the same.
"We have been drilled on the score before coming here. We need to beat China and Ireland before turning our focus on Belgium and Britain. We have achieved one, no matter the score, and our focus and determination will be to achieve the same aganst Ireland," said the player who is expected to wear the junior's skippers arm-band in the Sultan of Johor Cup and then the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan which doubles up as a Junior World Cup qualifier.